Deciding to embark on a construction project is a big decision. Whether a remodel, historic renovation or new build, a lot of factors have been evaluated and it probably has taken a considerable amount of time to reach the decision to proceed. While you are finally ready and can’t wait for the project to be complete, the success of your project depends upon working collaboratively with your team and establishing realistic expectations to guide the process.
In order to start a project off on the right foot, there are a few questions owners can ask when selecting their construction partner. These questions will help determine if this partnership is the best fit.
- What is a typical construction timeline?
- What is the construction company’s capacity to complete the project by the desired deadline?
- What requirements need to be fulfilled to keep the project on track?
- Can the company share references from recent relevant work?
- Who will be the direct point of contact throughout the project for quality control?
Once the owner and contractor partnership has been solidified, it is important to set expectations for the construction process. The following are important considerations:
Seamless and consistent communication is the key to construction project success. Both the owner and contractor should identify a single point of contact to manage all communication. The owner’s rep should have the authority to make final decisions to keep the project moving forward. The main contractor contact can address field issues, manage decision making and connect with the architect as needed for design updates.
While it is important to set expectations on goals, timeframe, budget and processes from the beginning, problems can arise when the right team is not in place and the client is unable to make decisions. “When construction is in progress and clients see things in real time on site, it can lead to changes outside the original scope of work,” says Tracy Carson, assistant project manager at JCP. “It is important to realize that every change impacts the budget and schedule and can be a slippery slope impeding success.”
State of the Industry
The level of communication between the client and contractor is a controllable factor in the success of a project; however, there are other issues to consider that may fluctuate throughout the construction process.
The availability and cost of materials is a current industry issue impacting project timelines and budgets. There is currently an over 100% increase on lumber costs and steel is up almost 4%. Delivery delays on materials and products can also push out schedules. With both steel and wood, lead times can be as much as three months for larger support beams. Schedules need to be maintained to lock in prices with steel or lumber yards to avoid further increases.
A lack of qualified labor was an issue prior to Covid and has only been compounded throughout the pandemic. A shortage of good quality subcontractors may mean you have to wait awhile to get the job done right. This is why it is important to ask contractors about their capacity to complete a project before solidifying the partnership.
Understanding the current state of the construction industry, selecting the right construction partner and maintaining realistic expectations will pave the way for success when you embark on your next project.
Visit www.jcp-construction.com to learn more about the JCP team and recent project work.