6 Questions to Ask when Hiring a Commercial Construction Company
Construction can be a very competitive industry, with several companies fighting for the same jobs. This can sometimes make it difficult for the owners to select the right person for their particular job. In this case, it’s up to the owners to ask the right questions. We list the top 6 questions you should ask as an owner before hiring a construction firm.
What to Ask:
1. What construction background do you have?
A construction company that can show you their track record is likely going to give you a bid that is in line with the market cost, because they are knowledgeable in their field. Some companies also specialize in one particular type of building like offices or schools.
Here at A.C. Owen we have a proven track record and a long list of projects under our belt including working with The Chickasaw Ballpark, Little Axe Public School and Mustang Town Center.
2. What are some of your past projects?
Always ask for examples of past projects from any firm you are considering hiring. Any company that has done previous work that they are proud of will be more than happy to hand over several examples. Not to mention, asking for references is also a great way to get a feel for a firm and their previous work. The type of projects a firm generally works with may also determine exactly who you should be working with. Need a gym built but only one firm has built a gym in the past? It’s a pretty safe bet that they are the ones that will know the most about that particular job.
A.C. Owen has experience in churches, schools, government facilities, professional offices, remodels, tenant improvements, and more.
3. What kind of timeline do you foresee for this project?
This industry is vastly reliant on timelines. The schedule should have enough flexibility to account for inclement weather (something we can’t avoid here in Oklahoma). If your company is giving you a timeline that seems impossible, they may have to cut corners to complete your project when promised.
A.C. Owen will always give you a timeline of when you should expect work to be completed along with the cost estimate. Your Superintendent will also be keeping you in the loop on what is going on with your project, because communication is key.
4. What sort of safety record do you have?
Injuries in the work place slow down processes and reflect poorly on the company. Working with a company that takes their safety seriously is ALWAYS the best way to go. They have their worker’s best interests and YOUR best interests at heart.
ACO works with a third-party safety consultant and has a comprehensive safety program to ensure the safety of our subcontractors, customers, employees and site visitors. We are proud of our safety record. We have ZERO incidents to date!
5. Are your cost projections estimates or fixed?
A client’s main concern is generally the bottom line. An established construction company is able to accurately estimate the cost of a project because they have established relationships with subcontractors and vendors. This allows the company to include fixed costs that the client can trust to remain the same.
A.C. Owen does not rely on computer software to “guess” at what something should cost. Documented historical data, on-going design-build project estimates and being a part of the “Hard Bid” market gives us a constant feel for where the market is and it reflects in our sharp budgeting and estimating services.
6. What sort of build options do you offer?
No two projects are the same. What might work for one owner, might not work for another. That’s why it’s important to make sure the firm you are questioning offers the right service for your project. Having the right service will save you time, money and headache.
At A.C. Owen we offer several service options including: General Contracting, Construction Management and Design Build.
You are making a very big decision when you pick your Commercial Construction Company. You want to ensure you can trust who you are working with to provide you with their best work and never steer you in the wrong direction. Meeting before hiring and airing out all of your questions is a great way to get a fee for a company. Remember – here at ACO we offer Free Consultations! Reach out if you have a project you would like to discuss, we would be happy to talk with you!
A.C. Owen Construction has locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Contact us today and learn more about what we can do for your construction projects!
The AC Owen Construction team will focus on your project from start to finish ensuring a high quality product. AC Owen works closely with the architects, engineers, sub-contractors, and vendors to control costs and mitigate risk. We also work closely with you directly to ensure appropriate planning, careful scheduling and foresight to handle all phases of construction.
Why do you need a Construction Management firm?
When your faced with a major construction project, there are many moving parts to consider. The scope of the project, how it impacts current operations, what will it cost, and who is going to do the work are just a few of the big picture questions. Then there are the details: which architect to hire, contractors to invite to bid, permitting, code compliance – the list seems endless. Most business owners and executives do not have either the background in construction or even more importantly, the time to bring all these elements together to ensure a successful, on-budget project. Let’s examine the basics of the role of a Construction Management firm on a project to show you why so many companies find their services invaluable.
Project Management Planning
From a project’s inception, you need a plan, and not just a SET of plans from the architect or engineer. An experienced construction manager should be involved from the beginning to help identify what details need to be addressed in order for the project to happen. Are there zoning issues? What are potential pitfalls in terms of scheduling? Who will be the owner’s liaison to the construction team? Is the design of the project compatible with the owner’s schedule? How long is the bidding process going to take? A construction manager has been through all of this before and can help you start the ball rolling by putting together a preliminary master schedule with input from the design professionals and the owner. The Construction Management team will pull all the pieces together, establishing channels of communication that keep the flow of information moving forward and making sure there is accountability in each area of responsibility. Other items such as submittals, coordination drawings, etc. are identified in the planning process by the Construction Management team, who then will coordinate their implementation and completion.
The Construction Management team offers input on budget as the project takes shape, calling on their experience from past projects. As things progress and the bids are in, it is important to make sure that once the final budget is established, someone is overseeing costs. The CM serves as the point of contact for the owner’s interests, and holds everyone on the team accountable for invoices that are submitted. In addition, The Construction Management team will evaluate any change order requests to make sure that they are justified and do not represent an item that should have been included in the contractor or subcontractor’s bid.
A major advantage of hiring a professional Construction Management firm is utilizing their expertise to construct, implement and oversee the schedule. Using modern scheduling software, the CM requests and inputs durations from the contractors to come up with a final schedule that is agreed upon by all parties. This creates another layer of accountability for each team member on the project. Typically, there will be weekly or biweekly job meetings presided over by the Construction Management team. At these meetings each party will have the opportunity to report on progress, project future construction activities, and identify any roadblocks that may be a hindrance to progress. The Construction Management team can also recognize opportunities to make up time on the project and work with the team to make it happen.
With any construction project, it’s not just a matter of completing the project. Every owner wants to meet or exceed the level of quality established in the project specifications. That is where Construction Management professional comes in. They will be the owner’s eyes and ears on the job, with the ability and authority to make sure that the project is being constructed according to specs. They will also be aware of the required inspections and inform all parties of the results, distributing lists of deficiencies and setting deadlines for remediation. The Construction Management team also serves as a conduit for all Requests for Information (RFI), logging them and addressing each at the appropriate job meeting. Nothing holds up a project more than unanswered questions.
With the litigious environment we have in business today, keeping a tight rein on contracts is a must. On a construction project, with all the built-in risk factors, it is even more imperative to have a seasoned Construction Management professional to be your contract administrator. They understand construction contracts because they have both issued them and signed them many times. The CM can make sure the contracts have the proper verbiage to provide the owner with the appropriate level of indemnification, or contain adequate language to hold parties accountable to the specs and schedule. Once the project is underway and even during closeout, your Construction Management team will make sure the right signatures are on the contract and that you are protected contractually from start to finish. They will also make sure the appropriate closeout information is submitted, including lien releases.
Construction can be a dangerous business, with everything from small hammers to large cranes hoisting steel beams in operation for hours at a time. Setting the tone for the safety on a project has to be done from the beginning, and that is where the Construction Management team comes in. If your facility has special safety requirements, the CM will make sure all parties are compliant. They can also require that each contractor submits their own company safety plan as well as signing off on project specific requirements. In addition, since the construction process typically involves the use of chemicals and other hazardous materials, the Construction Management team will oversee the submission of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSs) to maintain record on site in the event treatment for exposure to such a substance is required. As the owner’s eyes and ears, the CM can identify any practice that may not meet OSHA (or any Authority Having Jurisdiction) standards before an accident happens.
AC Owen Construction has locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Contact us today and learn more about what we can do for your construction projects!