General Contracting

The most commonly used method for pricing in the client-builder relationship is General Contracting. In this scenario the customer will work with their design team to develop a set of plans that are ready to submit to a municipal department for approvals. With a permit in hand the client will solicit bids from one or more General Contractors for a fixed price on a turn key product. Any deviations from the job as quoted are accounted for with change orders that can add or subtract from the originally quoted price. This is generally considered to be the simplest and most sterile relationship between a client and builder.

In this scenario a large emphasis is placed on the design work because the nuances of the project must be accounted for in a fixed contract price. This is where inexperienced General Contractors coupled with complications unforeseen by the design team can result in cost overruns and job delays. These General Contractors may also not be able to price the job appropriately, setting the stage for their own and the project’s failure.

How do I know if I have the right General Contractor?

Ask your General Contractor how long they have been in business and how many years of experience they have in building. It is appropriate to want reassurance from your builder that they have substantial experience with projects of your size and type. Ask for referrals. No one knows your builder better than their past customers. Get a comfort level that your General Contractor can finish on time and without inappropriate charges. Ask to meet the team at their office. Sit down with the owner. Like any good start to a relationship, ask questions and get a comfort level with the firm you are hiring first. You should feel at ease with the people who will be running your job. After all, you will be seeing a lot of each other.