Building a commercial center is no mean feat. It’s a massive undertaking where a lot can go wrong. However, some mistakes are more commonplace than others, and so can be identified and avoided readily enough. Such mistakes are usually caused by a lack of experience, or inadequate due diligence, and can be wholly avoided as long as the right precautions are taken. This article takes a look at some of these mistakes.
Not using standardized owner/contractor agreements
If your general contractor offers you a vaguely worded one page proposal that does not address proposed construction adequately enough, run and don’t look back. It is vital that contractors use the standardized American Institute of Architects agreements in order to form the contract. AIA agreements have been developed and amended over the years, and have been accepted by the construction industry as the standard to be used in contracting projects. They can be easily bought at the local AIA chapter, so there’s really no excuse for not using them.
Not demanding comprehensive construction documents
If your plans have not been prepared by a design professional with a license, or they’re incomplete, you are going to face monumental problems down the road. Always ensure that you have been provided with comprehensive documents on construction. Look out for common errors, like a missing project manual that details specifications, or plans that do not contain coordination between the various disciplines (mechanical, architectural, civil, structural, plumbing and electrical).
Additionally, any changes and revisions in the project should not only be comprehensively documented, but also approved by the design professional. As the owner of the commercial center, you might feel like you have the authority to make changes in the design without the architect’s approval. However, it is vital that any changes authorized by either you or the general contractor be reviewed and approved by the professional in order to ensure there’s no liability in so far as the building’s performance is concerned.
Not designating an owner’s representative or construction manager
Quite a few owners will not have experience in managing a project that could allow them to make unauthorized changes to the project, or to ensure compliance with the contract documents. That’s why it’s in both the owner’s and general contractor’s best interests that a skilled and experienced construction manager or representative so they can review proposed changes, schedule issues and pay applications on behalf of the owner.