Your project lies in the hands of your contractor – choose the wrong one and you can be left with a host of problems before construction even begins. Knowing what to look for in a general contractor can help you find the best construction team for your next project. Here are the top five characteristics your general contractor should have:
- Quality isn’t a buzzword
Every contractor will list quality as one of their top priorities, but how each upholds quality throughout each phase of construction may differ. Request that your contractor share stories about times they’ve exceeded industry standards and about their quality control program. Do they have a dedicated team who audits the practices implemented on your project? Will there be a team member assigned to your project to monitor quality? Your contractor should also review what technology they utilize to ensure quality, such as building information modeling, virtual design and construction, virtual reality and other construction-focused software.
- Adaptability comes with ease
Even with thorough planning, unknowns can arise on any job site, such as unmarked underground utilities or extreme weather conditions. Having a contractor who’s experienced in tackling a range of project challenges will help prevent these unknowns from greatly impacting your project’s completion. A great contractor will be ready to review emergency plans, and share examples on how they’ve adapted and addressed unknowns on previous projects.
- Good communication means more than answering emails
Whether you’re building a new space or renovating an existing one, your contractor should act as a day-to-day resource to help ease the construction process and alleviate any concerns. Look for a contractor who holds weekly meetings to review project progress and shares daily updates with your residents and staff. They should also communicate often with the architect, subcontractors and suppliers to ensure work is completed with accuracy and on time.
- Safety goes beyond the signs
Like quality, safety is a topic that every contractor should address. This is especially important for senior living communities that remain occupied during construction, where extra safety precautions should be put in place to protect your residents and staff. Look for a contractor who delivers a site-specific safety plan, including a list of safety personnel assigned to your project, scheduled daily inspections and a hazard analysis. Great contractors will also share initiatives and trainings they implement to ensure job site safety, including their policies regarding subcontractor compliance with project-specific safety expectations.
- Financial stability is a strong foundation
A contractor’s financial history can help shed a light on their ability to deliver your project. Contractors should provide financial statements and offer any references, from their bank or vendors. This will show if they’re paying their subcontractors and suppliers in a timely manner, if they’ve ever filed for bankruptcy, or any other potential financial issues.
Your contractor plays a key role in the success of your senior living community. Your selection can make the difference between receiving a quality space that attracts residents or one that’s delivered behind schedule and over budget. Knowing what characteristics to look for can help you spot the best general contractor for your project.
With over 18 years of experience in the construction industry, Rob Reeves leads Kinsley’s Philadelphia region efforts with a focus on the senior living market.
Originally published in McKnight's Senior Living.