Written by Ducon Contractors and Homes on Jul 13, 2014.
Posted in Commercial Construction, Renovations, Technical Discussions,
When contracting the construction of a commercial property development or a retrofit for a warehouse, manufacturing facility, retail space or office building, a large part of the work is done before the backhoes even start to dig the foundation.
Regulatory issues have to be dealt with ahead of time in terms of zoning, environmental issues, and other land use factors. A breakdown of all the steps and costs along the way needs to be drawn up to establish an initial budget estimate. We factor in unknowns such as supply shortages, design modifications and weather-related construction delays, which can impact a project’s timely completion.
One thing we at Ducon have learned in over 35 years of constructing buildings is that every client is different and every project is different, so having good communications with our clients is essential to a project’s success.
There are several key stages in managing a construction project from start to finish:
When Ducon manages the entire design-build project, we have to understand exactly what our client’s needs are. Our initial conversation is about the client’s vision for the space, which usually leads to the question, “what is this going to cost?” Inherently this is a difficult question at such an early stage; from our experience of similar projects we can offer a general estimate, excluding site services, ordinance fees and any changes. That is only the start of the conversation; clear communication is needed to get a full understanding of the client’s must-haves and nice-to-haves.
Project Initiation and Design
Once we have approval based on an initial budget, we then work on the concept identified in the initial discussions and apply a pre-construction budget to that set of ideas. We continue to work with our clients to clarify their vision with drawings, 3D walkthroughs and specifications that can be used in the construction phase. Throughout this process we adjust our budgets until we get down to the final details – the actual flooring, paint colors, the millwork, heating system, etc. to arrive at the final construction budget.
Time is money and therefore proper scheduling is an essential part of any construction project. The sub-contractors for each phase of construction need to be scheduled in conjunction with the necessary permits and inspections for each step, in order to keep things moving on time.
Ducon works closely with sub-contractors, vendors and other outside agencies to take your commercial construction project to completion.
As the constructor, it is Ducon’s role to control the budget, schedule, scope of the work, and quality of finish to be done. We do this by working closely with our sub-contractors, vendors and other outside agencies to take the project to completion.
In some cases, disruptions to both scheduling and budgeting may happen during the construction phase. Many people are unable to fully visualize their choices until a building starts to take shape and sometimes a client’s vision may change. Changes can impact a project in terms of time and materials used, which affects the budget. To accommodate such change orders, we’re careful to ensure our clients understand not only what is possible, but also the work involved, and the impact on cost.
Some clients approve changes based on estimates. Others will want change orders priced out in advance, which sometimes takes three to five days. This can mean having to hold up a project and coordinate the changes and delays with our sub-trades. When working on a tight construction schedule, clients often don’t realize the impact late requests can have, especially if the change is more than cosmetic. When it comes to changing a whole layout, this may involve going back to the designer for a new set of ‘as built’ drawings, which subsequently require more approvals. In such cases, we make certain that our client understands the consequences and gives informed consent to any resulting cost overruns and time delays.
Even cosmetic changes can add to the costs and cause delays. A client may have been happy with their choice of finishes when they originally looked at samples but may not like the result when they see the real materials and want to make changes. We use online construction software that allows us to show clients the cost of change orders they approve in advance of work and the impact these changes will have on the construction budget. Again good communications at all phases can help reduce the need for major changes after the fact. This helps us build a relationship of trust with our clients.
As a construction project nears completion, we prepare to turn the finished space over to our client. We schedule a walk-through inspection of the space to review the various elements of the project and go over any equipment in terms of function and how everything operates.
The project wraps up with activities such as overseeing the final settlement of project contracts, getting acceptance from the client of the deliverables and final payment. We then initiate a follow-up every three months over the first year and of course respond to any client requests during that time period if there are any issues.<h">Why Choose Ducon?
We are always happy to hear positive comments about the quality of our work but our favourites are about the integrity of our team. Our people are the core element of our success because our team members are carefully chosen for their knowledge, experience, trustworthiness and their capacity to deliver quality work on time and on budget to minimize delays and surprise expenses.
Choosing the right contractor to be your project manager should have far more to do with reputation and trust than picking the lowest bid. Word gets around quickly if contractors don’t stand behind their work. At Ducon, we ensure that our clients’ expectations are met and they can trust us to stand behind the quality of our team’s workmanship.
If you’d like to discuss how Ducon can help you with managing your commercial or residential building project, please get in touch.