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5 Must-Ask Questions When Considering a Commercial Construction Contractor

Start your commercial construction project by asking the right questions.

Start your commercial construction project by asking the right questions.

If you’ve got a commercial construction project in future plans and are unsure where to start, this list might help you gain some perspective. With the growing economy in the Okanagan region comes increased competition, and amidst several competitive offerings from commercial contractors, making the right choice can seem overwhelming. However, it all starts with asking the right questions, and we’re here to guide you!

Listed below are important questions you should be asking potential contractors for your commercial project; this will help you weed out companies that may not be a good fit and reveal top contenders.

1. What type of professional designations and experience does your team have? 

Contractors that are reputed and have established themselves in the market in terms of their expertise will have a proven track record, such as several years in business, positive Google reviews, plenty of completed projects, etc. Such companies will provide their services at a fair market rate because their experience allows them to offer competitive prices. 

However, companies just starting out and still learning the ropes may offer lower rates to ‘attract’ business but end up either not providing the best value for your money or hiking up your invoice in the end due to severe underestimation of costs. 

Another point to pay heed to is the kind of projects in the contractors’ belt; some specifically focus on common commercial builds such as offices and stores. You should ensure the contractor has sufficient experience with projects similar to yours so both of you are on the same page regarding expectations before the get-go.

2. What are some of your notable past projects?

Companies with significant experience in the commercial construction industry would be more than willing to share their past accomplishments with you as a nod toward their workmanship and expertise in the field. This will help highlight whether they’ve completed projects similar to yours, how satisfied their past clients were, and whether they’ve had clients return for more business.

It is also expected to check their current standing in the industry for online reviews and ask for references. Don’t shy away from doing your homework! Here are some of our commercial projects so far.

3. What kind of timeline would you plan out for our project?

Commercial construction companies will generally have a basic timeline from the initial conception or design phase of a project until construction completion. This timeline needs to be realistic, with enough flexibility to account for weather changes, vendor hiccups, or any other unforeseen circumstances. If a contractor offers a suspiciously short timeline, they might have to cut corners to keep the project on track, or it will not be delivered on time; this is not a good sign and is a vital aspect to pay attention to. 

Another way of doing your due diligence would be contacting the references provided to check for successful projects completed on time, communication styles, and whether customer expectations were met.

4. What is your safety record?

Businesses that have the required safety protocol, equipment, and processes in place will be transparent with you about it. It is a testament to their priority towards safety and protecting everyone involved in a project. Workplace hazards at construction sites are not uncommon, so it is imperative that a commercial builder understands and takes accountability for having set safety precautions. Companies that do not follow strict safety policies indicate dangerous working conditions and lack contingency planning. This may also mean lax attitudes in other areas of project completion, which is a detail to watch out for. 

Plan B Contractors Inc. recognizes the right to work in a safe and healthy workplace, and we are committed to providing such a workplace for our employees, sub-contractors, and clients. 

5. Are your cost projections estimated or fixed?   

An experienced contractor can provide you with reasonable estimates of fixed and variable costs for your project. They can easily factor in certain fixed costs as they have established relationships with their vendors/ sub-traders. In addition, they will be able to account for some variability in costs that may arise due to shipping delays, changes in labour requirements, changes in raw material requirements or pricing. They should be able to provide you with an official invoice detailing fixed costs and variable costs that could fluctuate so that there are no surprises in the future. This way, all the major details will be covered before any contracts are signed.

Plan B Contractors has over 20 years of experience in the industry; your commercial construction project will be in good hands from conception to completion. If you’re looking for a reliable contractor, contact us, and we’d love to help you get closer to your goals!