Building a new facility or remodeling an existing one should be an exciting time for a business. After all, these changes usually mean the business is growing and it’s time for your facility to reflect that. Unfortunately, if there’s little to no communication between you and your contractor, things could go south quickly.
“The very first thing that should happen in any construction project is the pre-construction meeting,” says Justin Branham, President of Branco Enterprises. “The moment you decide you’re going to remodel or build a building, talk to your contractor.”
Assembling the Team
Designers and architects, contractors, the company owner, and any key employees whose jobs may have specific design requirements all sit down in one room to ensure everyone knows what’s going on. The pre-construction discussion can make all the difference in what kind of experience owners have. The goal of the meeting is to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises for owners. “In the past, the design team, the contractor, and the owner didn’t come together until the construction was ready to take place,” says Branham. “In our opinion, that’s just not a good way to do business.”
Purpose and Budget
Understanding what the building’s purpose will be and the budget for the project are the key reasons the meeting takes place. “First and foremost we have to understand what the owner wants. What is the end use of the building?” says Sean Thouvenot, Vice President of Branco. “The second would be to ask what their all-in budget is, figuring in fees for professional services like architects and cost of furnishings, we’ve even had some owners throw in things like grand opening advertising figures.”
“We truly need to understand their goals,” says Branco President Justin Branham. “There may be some intangible things associated with the project, things that they may have promised constituents or coworkers that we need to understand to make sure that we’re providing the building they want.”
Special Considerations For Remodels
Older buildings may have structural problems or contain hazardous materials that must be addressed before remodeling starts. “We make sure we communicate to our owners the true risks they may be taking with any project,” says Branham. “From site problems to budget issues, we try to make sure there aren’t any surprises.”
Branco also takes the time to seek out the city and county authorities that have jurisdiction over the geographic location of any project they undertake. Research is also done to discern if there are any design constraints on the site.
“It’s very easy for a contractor to go back and do a history of similar projects and give you a realistic number and information on any regulations for your project,” says Thouvenot.
“Owners should expect true, open, honest dialogue from their pre-construction meeting,” says Branham. “You should have no secrets after that meeting. Everything needs to be out on the table and everyone needs to have a true understanding of what to expect from the project.”
“Everybody should leave that meeting with a clear objective of where they’re going and what their responsibilities are,” says Thouvenot. Branham adds, “Bringing all of those stakeholders together, the synergy that happens in that room, is worth so much.”
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