5 Questions to Ask Your Commercial Construction Contractor
Hiring a commercial construction contractor in Maryland is similar to any other contractor-hiring experience you have. However, there are a few differences you should consider. Before you start making calls, study these 5 questions, so that you know how to interview your candidates.
What do you specialize in?
Just like professionals in most fields and industries, commercial contractors have their own areas of expertise. First of all, ask whether your contractor works with existing structures, builds new structures or does both. For example, at Northstar, we mostly work with commercial renovations of existing buildings. We don’t take on new construction projects because that’s not where our interest or experience lies.
Once you establish that the contractor offers the service you are looking for, ask whether they’ve done similar projects before. Some contractors have a wide range of commercial structures they work on. Others may specialize in hospitals, retail spaces, college campuses or nursing homes. Look for a contractor that has an established portfolio that includes projects similar to yours.
What similar projects have you worked on?
The great thing about commercial construction is that in most cases commercial buildings are accessible to the general public. This means you can personally inspect the structures recently remodeled by your Maryland commercial construction contractor. Often, you can walk in incognito and see for yourself the quality of workmanship. This would be awkward in residential construction—asking to enter someone’s home to see their home addition may be considered an intrusion.
Speaking of similar projects, your contractor should be able to name a few local buildings he remodeled. You might even know what they are without looking them up. If visiting these buildings is not an option, ask your contractor for photos.
What is the biggest project you’ve handled?
Remember, when you are hiring a commercial construction contractor, you are hiring a general contractor. This is the person who will spearhead the process and make sure everything is done on time and on budget. He may or may not have his own team, but his expertise is what you are after above all. Asking about the biggest project will give you an idea whether this contractor can meet your needs and accommodate the scope of your project.
Do you offer design/build services?
Who will be drafting blueprints for you renovated commercial space? Some contractors only offer building services, while others can also do the design part. At Northstar, we do both. We can plan your space so that it meets your needs without emptying your pockets. We can also take a look at your existing plans and offer suggestions on how to improve the style, function or cost-efficiency of your layout. Working with a design/build commercial contractor has many benefits.
How long have you been doing this?
Obviously, experience matters. But where and how this experience was obtained also matters. Ideally, you want a commercial construction contractor who served in many different construction roles in his lifetime. This way, he’s likely to be more effective in managing his employees and getting the job done on time. You also want to hire someone who is familiar with the area. If you live in Maryland, you want a Maryland commercial contractor. This person will be familiar with commercial real estate values, as well as material costs in this specific region, so they can offer more accurate estimates.
Northstar Commercial Construction will be happy to work with you on your project. Give us a call or contact online to get an answer to all of the above questions!