The Job of a Commercial Contractor From Start to Finish
Building a new commercial building can be a complicated process. That’s why property owners work with general contractors who can handle everything from the pre-construction phase through putting on the finishing touches. Triangle business owners want to know what they’ll get for their money when they hire a commercial builder, and that’s understandable. The following reasons will offer property owners clarity on what to expect when they work with a leading construction contractor.
The Pre-Construction Planning Phase
There is so much effort that goes into a commercial project’s design and planning. Good general contractors can perform all the work required during the pre-construction phase in-house, working with clients to ensure that the new building will perfectly suit their needs. This part of the construction process involves:
- Creating an accurate cost estimate
- Performing a value engineering analysis
- Reviewing the project’s design to ensure its viability
- Developing a timeline for project completion
- Ordering and scheduling the delivery of long-lead materials
- Developing a site logistics plan
It’s important for the property owners to work with their contractors during the pre-construction phase to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Feel free to ask questions and offer input for the overall vision of the project.
Design-build contractors go one step beyond what’s described above. They can provide architectural and engineering services under one contract to come up with the perfect building design and accurate schematics. The firm then uses those schematics to finalize the schedule and guaranteed maximum price (GMP) so that clients will know exactly what to expect in the construction phase.
General contractors only begin the site preparation process after they have finalized the building plans and the client has signed off. What this stage of the construction process involves will depend on the state of the building lot. If there are trees or other forms of vegetation, they’ll need to be removed, as will any stumps or roots within 20 feet of the intended building perimeter. The soil may also need to be stabilized.
Once the land is cleared and the contractor has evaluated the soil quality and deemed it appropriate for commercial construction, it’s time to dig the foundation.
Constructing the Building
Once the site is prepared and the foundation has been installed, it’s time for work on the building to begin in earnest. General contractors work with a wide variety of subcontractors to accomplish this goal, but they continue to play an active role throughout the construction process. They provide construction management services, coordinate with subcontractors, and provide detailed reports to the client as the building is being built.
If any change orders are required, general contractors handle that as well. Good contractors mitigate change orders through careful planning and constant quality assurance evaluations. Both parties have to agree to a change order for it to be considered legally binding, but clients should keep in mind that some details of the project may need to be altered to accommodate weather conditions, material shortages, and other unforeseeable issues.
Each phase of the construction process requires general contractors to work with specialized subcontractors with different skill sets. Coordination is the key to keeping this complex process on track and minimizing delays. Business owners can expect the following tasks to be accomplished by specialized subcontractors, usually without much deviation from this order:
- Framing the structure
- Roughing in plumbing, electrical, and other utility lines
- Installing insulation
- Completing drywall
- Installing interior and exterior electrical fixtures
- Installing interior trim
- Installing flooring
- Finishing mechanical trimming and installing plumbing fixtures
- Finishing flooring and installing interior doors
- Adding final touches and performing a full walk-through
Understandably, most property owners want to be kept up-to-date about the progress being made on their new building. They can rely on their general contractors to provide frequent updates and act as a central contact who can answer questions.
Parking Lot Construction
Most general contractors also handle essential tasks like parking lots, road access, and walkway installations. Parking lot installation subcontractors may be able to excavate and install the lot while the building is being built to save time.
General contractors will ensure that every construction worker who enters the work zone treats the property with respect. No matter how well contractors clean up after themselves, though, there will still be construction debris that needs to be hauled away once the bulk of the work has been completed. Builders typically rent roll-off dumpsters to make it easier to manage construction debris. The dumpsters should be gone and the building’s exterior should be ready for landscaping when the project is finished.
General contractors perform routine quality assurance inspections throughout the construction process. When all the initial work is done, they will perform a final walk-through with clients to acquaint them with the building’s features and explain maintenance requirements, warranty coverage, and other details.
If business owners notice anything that must be corrected or adjusted, this is the perfect time to mention it. Once the walk-through has been completed and all the paperwork has been signed, the general contractors will no longer be liable for any damage to building materials, though all warranty protections will remain in place for the agreed-upon amount of time.
Triangle Business Owners Deserve the Best
Triangle property owners deserve to work with industry-leading commercial builders. That’s where J. M. Thompson comes in. With over 100 years of experience, we are the experts that know how to keep every project on-time and within the client’s budget. We are also an industry leader when it comes to sustainable construction and ensuring worker equity, including MWBE/HUB tracking and management. Property owners who are ready to learn more can browse the website or call (919) 851-1611 to discuss their projects.