5 Mar 2014 10:58 AM
Making the decision to upgrade your practice is usually a pretty simple, straightforward process. Some may disagree – but in comparison to the importance of sourcing the right company to undertake the works required, the decision to upgrade or relocate your practice is a relatively easy one. It’s a huge financial investment for your business and you need to be able to completely trust the contractor you will be working (very closely) with.
So, where do you start looking?
Google is the obvious answer, but ideally you should start speaking to your industry contacts, industry association forums, colleagues and any friends who have been through a practice upgrade or relocation. They will undoubtedly have valuable advice for you, including what they thought of the contractors they used and who they would happily recommend.
You need to keep in mind that it’s important to seek out similarities in the type and size of the construction project they have undertaken and what you require. If a colleague recommends a construction company who came in for a few days just to knock down a wall for them – is this enough of a recommendation for completing a full fitout for your practice? No – it’s just not worth the risk.
Once you have a list of contractors that you’d like to find out more about, you need to ask them the right questions in order to make the very best decision. To help, we’ve listed some basic, yet important questions you should ask your contractor BEFORE you sign a contract:
QUESTION #1 – What Similar Projects Have You Completed In The Last 2 Years?
If you want the very best outcome from your project with no nasty surprises, you must ask this question. You need to make sure that the contractor is completely capable of undertaking a project of your scope and speciality. Be sure to ask for references.
QUESTION #2 – How Long Have You Been In Business?
If it’s important to you to have a quality project completed by an experienced team who well established in the industry and knows what they are talking about, it is very helpful to know how long they have been in business.
New kids on the block may be full of passion, ambition and self-confidence, but it is no replacement for being very knowledgeable in best industry practices, having years of experience and a history of many successful projects to draw upon.
Also, will they still be in business to honour the warranty or for any future seamless add-ons you’d like?
QUESTION #3 – How Long Will My Project Take?
While some sales people may not be genuine in their estimate in order to secure a contract, it is important to find out what time frame the contractor estimates for completion. If you’re worried about being given an accurate estimate, refer to question #1 and #2!
QUESTION #4 – Do You Have Workers’ Compensation, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurances? Can I Get Copies Of Proof?
This has the potential to get very messy if an accident (big or small) occurs and the contractor does not have workers’ compensation, public liability and professional indemnity insurances. You should never choose a contractor who cannot show you proof. Otherwise you risk time, delays, money and peace of mind.
QUESTION #5 – When Are Payments Due?
Contractors operate their businesses differently, so you should make a point to find out what payment schedule is involved. You need to know when you are required to pay any deposits, progress installments or lump sums. You may also like to ask how long you have to pay and what payment methods they accept.
QUESTION #6 – Can You Provide Me With A Schedule of Works So I Can Check That Everything Is On Track To Meeting Completion Date?
It is completely reasonable to want to see a Schedule of Works; so you can rest assured that the project is organised and planned out appropriately in order to meet completion date. No one wants to cancel a grand opening day! If your contractor is unable or unwilling to provide any of these for you, you would be best served looking around for another contractor.
Have any redevelopment questions for us?
Call Cassins on 1300 122 774, where you’ll be given answers to all these 6 questions and more.