The Key to Control of your Project, (use a general contractor or not?)

April 13, 2015

While many companies today recognize the benefits of hiring a general contractor to outsource those functions that are not part of their core business, they can be hesitant to do so. Why? It’s often a control issue. They feel that without one of their own managing the particular task or function, they run the risk of compromising quality, cost overruns or delayed timing, maybe all three.


It’s true, no two construction or renovation projects are alike. Although there can be some commonalities, there’s no one size fits all. How can companies realize the benefits of hiring and trusting a general contractor without losing that sense of control?


Make sure your contractor can answer the following three questions to your complete satisfactions. If they can’t, move on – any initial price savings could be easily erased and long forgotten by the project end.

  • Question #1, Control the Process – What are their procedures?

Running a construction and particularly a renovation project, is very difficult without proper systems and procedures in place. Your General Contractor should demonstrate a complete understanding of project goals and the R O I. Most often, trying to keep a project “off the rocks,” is a tough challenge for even the best of contractors! A solid established company, that has successfully completed your type of project, should work closely with you, to understand your project goals, budget and timeline, allowing you to oversee the “big picture” instead of chasing all of the daily details.

  • Question #2, Do they have a written detailed plan with a critical path timeline?

Your contractor must prepare a written plan with written timeline, as a guide. This should indicate what, when and where important issues may arise. Understanding early on, where roadblocks may occur are imperative. Your contractor should understand project delays and the consequences and the importance in working with you, proactively, investigating possible solutions, prior to these delays occurring. Delays can seriously affect your project’s timeline and increase your budget significantly with costly change orders.

  • Question #3, Control the information – How will they communicate?

The key to your control is your receiving of information in a timely manner which enables you to act on that information with with your general contractor, making decisions as your project progresses, thus improving your projects overall outcome. This sounds so logical but is It is important for your contractor to have a cohesively plan for communications on all key project issues, both good and bad. Doing so allows for timely reactions. Determine exactly how you will be kept informed, digital photos, (when applicable), conference calls, and face to face meetings, etc. and how often. This needs to be done, by all involved parties, consistently, and not requiring large blocks of time. Your general contractor must have a definite plan for communications.


While price can be a factor when selecting a general contractor for your project, don’t let it be the determining factor. It’s a fact, most good general contractors, working on your behalf, can and will actually save you money. Because the good ones that accomplish projects day-in and day-out understand completely the project goals and can work aggressive timelines to move projects ahead at an accelerated pace. After all, the least amount of down time and disruption in your daily business always equates to savings.

  • How important is freeing up your time to enable you to run your daily operation, successfully?

  • How important is meeting your project goals, timeline and budget?

  • Working with established companies always gives you an advantage.

Key factor: Do your homework.




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