6 Questions To Ask A General Contractor

April 20, 2021
6 Questions To Ask A General Contractor

What are the questions to ask a general contractor?

  1. Are you licensed to carry out work?
  2. What kind of insurance do you have?
  3. Can you secure a list of references?
  4. What is your projected completion date for this project?
  5. Will subcontractors be hired for the job?
  6. Can you provide a scheduled progress report?

For any kind of construction project, be it a full-blown commercial space or a small-scale renovation, you’ll be making crucial decisions that will determine its success. To start things off, you’ll need to hire a general contractor that’s right for the job. Partnering with a trusted and reputable contracting firm that has decades of experience behind them assures you of quality and cost-effectiveness in every construction expense accrued. To make sure that all of these qualities are present, you’ll definitely need a list of questions to ask a general contractor.

Most clients conduct a thorough background check on the general contracting firm or the contractor they hire. Aside from this, they also screen the contractor if they’re fit for the job. The questions below will assist you in finding the right company and hiring the most capable team that can carry out work for your desired project. Read on to learn more.

Are You Licensed To Carry Out Work?

Questions regarding a contractor’s license are arguably the most important ones. These credentials signify that the general contractor that you’re about to hire has been accredited to perform work legally. While it may be common practice in the Philippines to hire non-licensed contractors (mainly due to their affordability) this is a risky decision, as hiring non-licensed individuals can have negative impacts on the project.

With all of the above in mind, you should be able to check if the contractor has been licensed to provide services to their clients. In the Philippines, legitimate contractors will typically have a PCAB (Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board) license. Ask the company if their team of contractors, subcontractors, architects, or engineers all have this type of licensing that meets the regulations set forth in law.

What Kind Of Insurance Do You Have?

What kind of insurance do you have?

Professionals in the construction industry are aware of the hazards and risks entailed in their line of work. For example, subcontractors that specialize in electrical systems and engineering will be exposed to hazards such as fire, live wires, faulty wiring, grounding, and other dangers in dealing with such systems. General contractors understand this, which is they need to have general liability insurance to protect not only your construction project, but also themselves.

Ask if your contractor and the people under him are covered by insurance. Insurance comes in different forms and may vary depending on which insurance company they have a policy with. These policies may either be one or two or more of the following: Comprehensive General Liability, Energy and Engineered Risks, Property-All Risk (for coverage against loss or damage on your property), Contractor’s Equipment, Contractors All Risk, and the like.

An insured contractor benefits you in a number of ways. For one, you won’t have to be held accountable whenever accidents happen on-site. Another reason is that you can ensure that everyone working on your project is covered against any risk that might happen to them.

Can You Secure A List Of References?

The broader the general contractor’s work portfolio is, the better. References allow you to communicate with your chosen contractor’s former clients. Doing this will help you gain information on how the contractor’s processes, quality of work they provide, budget, professionalism, and many more.

Your general contractor may already have a list of ongoing or completed projects that they’ve worked on in the past. Having references also allows you to verify and cross-check if the information they provide is true. You can also gauge the experience of your general contractor in this way.

What Is Your Projected Completion Date For The Project?

What is your projected completion date for this project?

Unless you’re a seasoned general contractor yourself, you won’t be able to provide an accurate timeline of when your project will be completed. For this reason, you’ll need the expertise of a skilled general contractor that can develop an accurate scheduling of all the activities needed to complete your project.

Many factors are considered when it comes to creating a construction schedule — your contractor would have to gather data about the feasibility, secure permits, conduct inspections, and so on. While guesswork is also part of the process, a good contractor will see to it that they come up with consistent scheduling, especially if you’re on a tight deadline.

Will Subcontractors Be Hired For The Job?

General contractors, skilled as they may be, will rarely be equipped to perform all types of manual labor required for your project. These can include plumbing, electrical work, utility, equipment handling, scaffolding, busway systems, plastering, roofing, cladding, and so on. Often, they will have to subcontract the work to other specialists.

If this is the case, make sure that you secure profiles for each subcontractor that will work on your project. Likewise, you should also ask them about insurance coverage, compensation, credentials, and other relevant information that you may need.

Can You Provide A Scheduled Progress Report?

Can you provide a scheduled progress report?

Large-scale construction projects can be difficult to monitor, especially with the volume of activities that need to be completed. A single person also won’t be effectively able to do the job of monitoring site activities and taking note of the deliverables per day.

If you’re busy and won’t really have the time to oversee the project ever so often, it’s important that you hire a contractor that can send you a weekly progress report, or whenever you’ll need it. You’ll be able to receive regular updates about the project, roadblocks — if any —, changes in design, and the like.

Key Takeaway

Ready to hire a general contractor for your project? In this guide we’ve highlighted some questions to ask a general contractor as a way of screening their capabilities. Partnering with a reputable contractor firm is definitely one of your priorities, which is why you’ll need to ask questions that cover the contractor’s skills, experience, licensing, management acumen, and many more.

Need to hire a contractor that can help you satisfy all your questions? Cross-Link Electric & Construction Corporation is the leading provider of all types of construction services! Click here to get in touch with us and learn more about how we can help!