2 questions you need to ask when choosing your construction partner
Choosing your construction partner when facing a large project or commercial build can be a nerve-wracking experience. Often, the criteria placed before your selection of construction partners can ask the obvious questions without revealing any potential weaknesses – and by the time these flaws or deficiencies are uncovered, the situation could be critical.
Choosing your construction partner carefully is imperative to the success of your entire project: once you have entered into an arrangement, it’s often far too late to reconsider. With the glut of construction and project management companies tendering for work in New Zealand, it can be hard to know how to make your ideal match, but asking the right questions will ensure a much higher rate of success.
So how can you be sure to expose your selections’ strengths along with their weaknesses, and avoid the costly mistake of a wrong choice? Simple: ask these 2 questions FIRST.
1. Ask about team experience. SPECIFIC experience.
It’s one thing to ask a prospective construction partner about their work history, their qualifications, and details of their latest projects, however it’s quite another to ask highly specific experience-related questions of the current team they are using. Darrell Trigg, Director of TRIGG commercial construction, recommends taking your questioning to a whole new level – without entering an ‘interrogation zone’! ‘We advise that any prospective construction partners be asked to produce construction case studies of work that match the scale, scope and functionality of your project that they have completed using the team they have now,’ explains Darrell.
‘Having experience in a similar project is fantastic, but were they using this same team of staff and contractors? For example, perhaps the company you are speaking with has managed the construction of an office block – which is what you are planning. It does not automatically follow that the office block they were involved with was constructed by the same people they now have on their team.
Ask your potential construction partner ‘what are you capable of with the current team you have?’ and your answer may be significantly different.’ In short, taking similar historical case studies alone as proof of experience is not enough to guarantee a quality partnership: the specific team used in each case study must be considered.
2. Internal and external communication
Communicating with your construction team and project managers should be a simple, straight forward affair. And there’s no reason it can’t be; however, one of the largest and most common problems faced by developers when dealing with their construction partners is simply that – communication. Not only communication within their own construction team, but communication with the developers and all significant stakeholders.
A simple question to ask any potential construction partner is: ‘How do you communicate within your team, and how do you propose to communicate with our team?’ This sounds like a simple question, but in reality, the answer will be very telling.
The level of partnership required for your project will dictate the level of communication required between all parties involved; and you will need to choose a construction partner who has experience in communicating on the level that you require. Do you have a board that needs to be kept informed? Are there multiple stakeholders? Do you require executive sign-off at specific intervals? Are there cultural observances to be made? Discuss communication needs with all potential partners, and you will avoid many misunderstandings throughout your project construction.
Early Contractor Involvement is one of the easiest and most efficient methods of maintaining a close, beneficial relationship with your construction partner. Through following the ECI methodology, your construction partner will gain a stronger, more in-depth understanding of your vision and desired outcomes, and your communication needs will have been discussed and smoothed out long before the physical construction stage has begun.
Save yourself time, energy and stress by asking the right questions FIRST!
Find out more - contact Trigg for expert construction management advice today!