As the economy continues to recover from its recent downswing, the commercial construction industry also continues to grow. However, the industry is still encountering challenges that can affect businesses and investors. When it comes to effectively addressing and handling these challenges, hiring an experienced general contractor is a good way to ensure that your project goes smoothly and successfully.
- Cost overruns. Sometimes, projects can get “carried away” and can end up costing significantly more than anticipated. This can occur if materials need to be changed, if there are unexpected delays or additions, or if the planning got out of hand and the building ended up a bit more showy than originally anticipated. A general contractor can help keep track of expenses and scheduling, purchase the right materials for your project, and make recommendations if the project has become bigger than it was originally planned to be.
- Toxic or polluted land or buildings. Land used for commercial development, or buildings rented by commercial tenants, can sometimes be environmentally unsafe if the previous owners or nearby businesses allowed the space to become polluted. This sometimes occurs if chemicals or other toxic materials are leached into the ground, or if the building is built with toxic materials like asbestos or lead. Many general contractors have had previous experience cleaning up polluted land or renovating unsafe buildings and can advise you on the best ways to go about the process.
- Climate change. As more and more businesses are becoming conscious of climate change, there is a growing push to make commercial properties “green” or “eco-friendly.” However, this can often involve employing new and innovative building techniques that a less experienced contractor may have not dealt with before. Be sure to look for a general contractor with experience building green or LEED-certified buildings, because he or she will have a good sense of what materials and processes to use, as well as how to make your building eco-friendly without exceeding your budget.
- Old or outdated infrastructure. Often, commercial buildings that are 40 or 50 years old are in need of renovation because the infrastructure is deteriorating or simply not up to modern standards. However, redoing an old building, especially critical parts like the frame or the foundation, can be challenging and expensive. General contractors with experience renovating old commercial buildings can determine what needs replacing or if the building needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, and they can also determine how to go about the renovation process efficiently and inexpensively.
- Cost estimating. Even if you plan very carefully, it is often difficult to determine exactly how much money your project will cost and how much to budget for changes or problems that may arise. Once you establish how much you are able to spend on your project and what investments you can get for your project, talk to a general contractor who has handled similar projects. Your contractor can review your budget and help you determine if there are any gaps or areas that you have overlooked. He or she can also tell you how much money changes or setbacks can cost so that you can add that to your budget accordingly.
- Rising costs of materials and labor. As with many industries, the commercial construction industry is facing the rising costs of raw materials and of labor, based on demand and the general state of the economy. This can, in turn, drive up the overall cost of your building project and cause problems with your budget. In order to make sure that your project goes as planned and that you do not have to cut corners, your general contractor will account for the increased costs of materials and labor by purchasing the best quality materials for the price you can pay and by knowing exactly how many people to hire for the project.
- Renovations and expansions. Perhaps you already have a commercial building in place, but it needs to be added onto or redone. There are many things that must be considered before beginning such a project — everything from zoning concerns to structural issues to aesthetic considerations. For any of these concerns, a general contractor can talk through them with you and determine the best way to approach your renovation or expansion.
- Safety concerns. Safety is a critical factor when building any kind of commercial space. The building must meet safety codes and be solid and sturdy, but it is also important to remember safety while the building is being built to protect the workers. Part of a general contractor’s job to ensure that all the safety requirements are met, both for the building itself and for the contractor’s employees while they are on the job, and he or she will be able to answer any questions you may have about the safety of the building.
- Managing competition.You have the option of choosing from many different contractors, but it is important to remember that the cheapest option is not always the best option. A skilled general contractor will provide the best price for the best quality, not simply the cheapest option or the fastest option. Be sure to consider each bid that you receive carefully, and pay close attention to whether the contractor seems to be cutting corners solely for the sake of providing you with a lower bid.
- An often unpredictable work schedule.All kinds of things can pose challenges to your building process. Changes and delays can be caused by weather, supplies not arriving on time, altering plans, shortage of materials, and many other factors. It is important to consider these when planning your project. Experienced general contractors have likely encountered every imaginable setback and can be a resource in helping you budget and prepare for possible delays on your project.
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