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Selecting a Contractor for Pre-Construction Services

Written by: Jano Montoya Posted: 5/16/2016
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The benefits of engaging a contractor early in the development process are abounding. Pre-construction services are not limited to budgeting and project scheduling, but can also encompass a wide range of value adding services.

The following are three key qualities to look for when selecting a contractor for pre-construction services:

  1. Above all, experience building self storage is critical. The product type isn’t overly complicated, but there are elements of self storage design and construction which cannot be overlooked. Underwriting of a project is typically based on a very thin margin and cost and/or schedule overruns can quickly derail cash flow models taking months, possibly years, to recover from. An experienced builder will not only know what problems to avoid, but will know what features and materials perform better.
  2. Look for a level of sophistication in your builder. Design firms don’t generally focus on a single product type unless it is a market large enough to sustain the firm through cyclical ups and downs. Self storage hasn’t historically been one of those markets; there simply isn’t enough revenue. A specialized self storage builder can work closely together with the architectural firm adding substantial value to the design process. Some have observed that architects are typically more artistic than engineers. Form has priority over function in many building types. However, in self storage, this cannot be the precedence. Efficiency and optimization need to be the objective in every design session. A sophisticated builder will be able to provide feedback to the design team to optimize efficiency for maximum revenue potential.
  3. Lastly, engage a builder who has strong relationships with specialized subcontractors. Self Storage construction is in high demand these days. As developers rush to get their projects built, an experienced builder who has a good working relationship with the major trades can be very beneficial when establishing critical milestones, when scheduling the delivery of long lead materials and when creating an aggressive but realistic overall project schedule.

About the Author

Jano Montoya, co-owner of PBBrown LLC, graduated from San Diego State University with a Civil Engineering degree. After graduating from San Diego State University, Jano worked for a large construction company in California for the next 12 years. In 2011 Jano Montoya and Paul Brown started their own General Contracting company in Florida. Since starting the company Jano has overseen over 4.5 million square feet of self storage renovation and new construction. Since 2011 Jano has been able to help self storage owners with all the different phases of a project including entitlements, design and construction.

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