When colleagues in the commercial construction business ask us why they should consider adding the services of a professional consultant onto their payroll, we generally tend to explain the decision like this: Imagine having someone on your team whose role is making sure your job’s contract is adhered to down to the very last letter.
Imagine if that same person, who may be an architect or perhaps an engineer, could be brought in before or during the design stage to consult on everything from site selection and project budgeting to environmental studies and space relationships.
That, my friends, is exactly what a commercial construction consultant does. In fact, when considering whether you might want to hire a consultant for your own PA-based commercial construction company, you might want to think of a consultant as a project manager, because that’s exactly what they do: They manage the project, almost regardless of what it entails.
If a commercial construction consultant is used properly–and often, they aren’t–it’s unlikely that any other decision you make during the lifespan of the project will give you a better overall ROI. The benefit of having a consultant on staff is often so great that we very rarely approach a commercial project of any significance without one. We think your Pennsylvania commercial construction firm would be wise to do the same.
Without a Consultant, What’s the Worst that Can Happen?
If you’re in the building business, we don’t have to tell you that even the simplest of construction jobs can result in barely-controlled chaos. Let’s say you work in residential construction, and you’ve landed a contract to put in kitchen counters or bathroom tiling at a new suburban subdivision. Many of us can imagine any number of worst-case scenarios, because we’ve experienced so many of them ourselves.
Maybe your supplier jacks up the price of backsplash tiles at the last minute because of a product shortage in Italy, but the client refuses to pay a rate higher than what you and he had already agreed on. What’s the result? That’s right: You pay for the difference out of your own pocket, and take a very wet financial bath in the process. To add insult to injury, the client suggests that maybe—just maybe—you were trying to rip him off.
Now imagine a similar situation, but in the decidedly higher-stakes world of commercial construction in PA. When your job budgets are regularly in the five, six, or even seven figures, small mistakes can easily add up to the sort of money that can put you out of business. Contracts need to be absolutely error-free and executed with precision, and that’s why it’s so important to have a consultant on your team of commercial construction in PA professionals.
What Does a Consultant Do During the Design Stage?
Perhaps the most crucial role a commercial construction consultant performs during a project’s design stage involves determining the feasibility of the project. Most, if not all, of us have worked on big commercial projects which, for one reason or another, never should have been green-lit in the first place.
A consultant worth his or her salt will put the brakes on such a project before ground is broken, and the consultant does this while keeping a number of different standpoints in mind. For instance: Does the project make sense financially? Can it be successfully completed from a logistical standpoint? From a technical standpoint? Only after those questions and others can be answered in the affirmative will the consultant begin pulling permits.
The owner, of course, remains at the top of the totem pole in terms of the decisions that are ultimately made. If the consultant submits a design of some sort, for instance, it’ll be up to the owner to approve it. But unlike the consultant, the owner doesn’t need to have any sort of advanced engineering or architectural background–just the smarts to hire someone with the skills he or she happens to lack.
What Else Does an Owner’s Consultant Do?
There’s much more a construction consultant is responsible for, of course, than the few situations and scenarios we’ve pointed out above. The main point we want you to understand is that an owner’s consultant simply makes your construction project’s entire process, from start to finish, a simpler and smoother experience.
Click to learn about the commercial construction consulting services we offer here at Souder Brothers. We are, after all, general contractors ourselves, and that means we know the business better than almost anyone. Please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team if you’d like to learn more about what we can offer to you and your project. We think you’ll like the skills we have to offer, not to mention the time and money they will inevitably save you and your team.