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Choosing the Right Construction Partner: Six Questions to Ask a Proposed Project Team


It’s no surprise that the most successful projects tend to be the ones with the best teams. Because the team consists of more than just the construction partners, it’s critical to select a group that will mesh with project stakeholders, designers, and consultants. The faster this group can come together, the greater the odds of a successful project. So how does an owner select the best construction partners?

After the proposals have been reviewed, most bids come down to the interview. With only an hour to narrow down the prospects, a carefully vetted list of questions can be a tremendous help in understanding the motivations and personality of the proposed project team.

What’s the team’s experience?

Have these members worked together before? What about on this type of project? Have they worked with us before? Understanding a team’s experience is the first step to deciding whether they’re right for your job. A project team that’s previously worked together is an ideal scenario, especially in the case of projects with complicated elements. A positive history of working not only together, but with other parts of the overall project team, will minimize learning curves and jumpstart the project.

Is this team dedicated to my project?

No one likes to buy a product, only to bring it home and find out they have been tricked into buying something else. The same applies to construction teams. Determining if the proposed team will be truly doing the work is important. It’s also important to find out if they will be focusing their time solely on your project throughout the entire construction process. Otherwise, you may be surprised with a team that is different than the one you hired.

Who is my main point of contact?

It’s critical to get a clear answer to this question. No project is immune to difficulty. When issues inevitably arise, understanding who to call is as important as addressing the problem itself. Problems also don’t necessarily follow the same schedule as workers, so finding out who to call on a weekend or during off-hours is also great to know.

What is your plan for small business/DBE participation?

Building communities starts with ensuring fair equity in subcontractor selection. While many states have small business requirements for construction projects, there are a growing number of owners that prefer to go beyond the minimum requirement. Finding a construction partner that aligns with your goals is the first step – but asking questions regarding how they will get there will aid in your selection process.

How will you generate interest among subcontractors?

With a growing list of construction projects and a sometimes-shrinking list of pre-qualified subcontractors, the competition for attention has intensified. Just as it is important for a project team to form a relationship – it is equally important for your construction manager to maintain relationships in the subcontracting community. Understanding these relationships and the plan to generate bidders is key to the project’s overall timeline and success.

What are your thoughts regarding escalation?

Owners want and need to know how much a project is going to cost. But what happens if a project gets delayed or a conflict arises, causing the schedule to increase? Being able to make an educated prediction about future costs is important when considering the timeline and any potential delays in a project.

Having the right team in place can make all the difference in securing a project’s success. Ensure you’re asking the right questions of your prospective team to determine who best aligns with project goals and is best suited to helping you achieve target objectives.

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