Stemming from last week’s blog, we wanted to take a new angle to the GC selection discussion: the perspective of an experienced construction director who is unhappy with existing partners in place. There are ways to avoid this disconnect, and these ways involve more than a standard qualification package.
While considering a general contractor’s fit, you can’t help but wonder “What makes this general contractor any different than the last disappointing prospect who left me over budget and behind schedule?” This is the distressing norm: construction teams unable to attain goals from a sharp disconnect in their contractor relationships. Before assuming fault on either side, let’s worry about what is within control—qualification and quality vendor selection. There needs to be more attention paid to what is considered desirable in the vetting process. Through establishing key criteria and requiring a consistent standard of excellence, there is little room for error. Here’s how to get there.
Develop a Scorecard that Eliminates the Mystery
Imagine a Nancy Drew book without an ending—you’re left without any resolution of the twists and turns that remain open-ended. The same sentiment applies to GC selection with a benchmarking strategy that varies from supplier to supplier. To gain some directness, successful construction managers onboard general contractors that uphold traits important to their team, and disregard qualities that are considered important from someone else’s perspective.
In addition to job performance mandatories, long-term success is seen when these qualities screened include “softer” strengths that aren’t entirely performance related, however more-so relationship focused. When values, expectations, and culture are aligned, a general contractor has a strong chance of lasting on your list for the long haul. Of course, previous experience and performance are critical, however adding some dimension to your contractor qualification by including these qualities can have some serious impact.
Recognize the qualities you value most and provide each a numbered weight of importance. For instance:
– Communication and Critical Thinking Capabilities
– Relationship and Collaboration Focus
– Innovation and Continuous Improvement Openness
– Safety Attention
Assess potential partners with questions inquiring what the general contractor would do in certain instances that are distinctly positioned toward the qualities that are the best fit. See if their responses align with your desirable outcome through providing a number score to be used with the numbered weight of importance to develop an overall score.
Keep it Going
Although it is key to evaluate these criteria prior to onboarding a GC, it is also equally important to maintain an ongoing assessment to confirm expectations haven’t slipped. In order to standardize this assessment, the following questions are a good start to structuring an evaluation format:
– What are the top three advantages of the general contractor’s project delivery process? Are they in conjunction with our top goals for a general contractor?
– What are the top three disadvantages of the general contractor’s project delivery process? Is there room for improvement through a Performance Improvement Plan?
For more detail around this process, our recent whitepaper outlines everything you need to know—best of all, it’s free. “What Every Construction Director Must Know about General Contractor Selection” can help even the most seasoned construction professional learn how to optimize the general contractor selection process for long-term results.