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Insights | 13th Sep 2022

Three Questions to Ask Your General Contractor

Construction is more than the physical building of a project—it also includes the extensive preconstruction phase where all the planning, preparation and coordination takes shape and ultimately determines the success of the project. This part of our job is integral so that our operations team can then deliver the completed product. We put in the hours up front, so our clients can relax throughout the project knowing their building is in trusted hands.

As we look to 2023, questions about what to expect and how to navigate construction in the current market continue to arise. Our operations team answers the top three.  

How is Haselden managing the labor shortage and is it affecting construction?

Construction has been no stranger to the current labor crisis. Qualified talent is harder to find, and more jobs are going unfilled longer. This really extends to our subcontractors in specialty areas, which can strain their expected manpower and completion times. We work with our subcontractors to vet their manpower early for our jobs so we can be confident our timeline is accurate. If there is an issue, we explore other options to avoid delays and we hold our subcontractors accountable to the schedules they provide. The client is not our only partner – subcontractors also rely on us so they can plan their own manpower. If the schedule is delayed, it can create significant stress or a domino effect on other subcontractors as each trade builds on the next.

How does Haselden approach the handoff from preconstruction to construction?

At Haselden, when we say there is no hand-off from preconstruction to operations, we mean it. Both are working as a team to plan and execute every project. Each is needed to ensure that the plan and strategy set forth is brought through to construction. Starting in the estimating or RFP phase, our proposed preconstruction and operations team begin meeting weekly, if not more frequently, to develop a strategy for the project and familiarize themselves with the clients’ needs and expectations. These weekly meetings continue after the project is award and our team begins preconstruction. The operations team provides insight on constructability, possible challenges, and works with the team to create innovative solutions. As we get into design meetings, a member of the operations team also attends every meeting. By the time the building breaks ground, operations has been involved with the project and client for months establishing a relationship of trust and transparency.

How can the construction team mitigate supply chain delays and long lead times?

Operations is crucial to executing the strategies set forth by preconstruction to mitigate any material delays and supply shortage. Once construction begins, we start submittals on the entire job. In this market, getting materials ordered as soon as possible locks in their prices and ensures we are as close as possible to our estimates. The project team is in constant communication with the client. Early submittals mean that clients could be picking finishes even as we are only pouring the foundation. As the contractor, we provide clear information for each element to help our clients navigate this process. And, this communication extends throughout the project. We keep the client informed and updated on all costs and operations — even if it might not be good news. This open dialogue and transparency allows us to pivot quickly when a situation arises. Our ultimate goal is to create a relationship and build trust with the client to deliver the best final project possible.

A good general contractor maintains balance throughout the project. They need to be flexible when appropriate but firm enough to keep the project on schedule to the benefit of all stakeholders. A construction team becomes a part of the client’s staff as they work together daily. A good partner is key to the process, and we believe that great projects are built on great relationships. If you’re ready to start a project, in the middle of a project, or just want to learn more don’t hesitate to reach out.

CJ Harvey, Vice President of Preconstruction

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