What sets one construction company apart from another?

Guest post by Sarah Grey

ILMA

What sets one construction company apart from another?

With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job

can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From

the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing

partners for your next big project.

A strong commitment to budget

Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become

a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.

Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s

not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.

Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest

assured that your project will stay on budget.

Awards, but not just any awards…

Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By

the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards

business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian

building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering

can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they

know what they’re doing.

After care

The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more

of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the

details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging

repairs or replacement of material.

Local project management

A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute

must. Don’t settle for anything less.

Favorable Reviews

The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are

by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s

easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building

companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there

are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.

Specialist knowledge

An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct

clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional

architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the

understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier

they will be to work with.

Sarah Grey is a Writer and Marketer who works for a home building company.


Ideas about SOCIAL MEDIA (for Architects and Other Professionals) by @FrankCunhaIII

Unfortunately, Architecture is not the Football star of the social media world.

Here are a few suggestions if you want to obtain more followers and reach a wider audience using social media:

1) There are no key words that I know of to find potential/future clients, developers, and builders so I consider everyone I meet a potential contact – present or future – so I follow most people back.  So don’t just follow the professional organizations, other Architects, and allied professionals, instead broaden your fan/follower base.

2) Become the Go-To Guy / Gal for Architecture (or your profession) within your own social network (be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc).  I get all sorts of emails related to the profession which leads me to believe that the people I associate with and see me tweet about Architecture associate me as an “expert” in the field.

3) Expand. Don’t just tweet / post about Architecture.  My father tweets about Sports and gets 10 times more hits on his blog than I get.  This means that some professions like Architecture have less appeal, so tweet / post about other things you enjoy, be it art, music, culture, etc.

4) Change your tone – I like to post about hanging out with my children or visiting my family when I am on Facebook and Twitter.  LinkedIn I try to keep more professional.  I think it is fun and benefitical to show your personal side, but just be aware of what you are posting where.  Try to keep your posts on LinkedIn more professional (i.e., related to the industry or allied industries, like Real Estate, Energy Conservation, Codes, etc for Architects) and be more personable on Facebook and Twitter.

5) Don’t forget to recommend and connect people within your network.  I was very excited when I recently saw that a fellow Architect member of the Architects LEague connected a photographer to another Architect member in our group.  Everybody wins when you are able to connect two or more folks.  Make Social Media work for you by making these connections possible.

6) Don’t be scared to send a shout-out to your Followers on Twitter.  People want to be mentioned.  Whether you include others in a tweet about a story you saw or whether you include someone on a quotation you found people will want to interact with you more and be more engaging if you engage them.  So far the only people who have complained about me tweeting too much or not wanting to be mentioned (ironically) have been other Architects.  Everyone else I have encountered online has ben grateful when they are mentioned and 9 times out of 10 they will retweet my post so my message is reached even further to their followers.

7) Who do you want to emulate? Make sure you check out and follow other professionals who you see as your competition or colleagues so that you can learn from their success.  Retweet / repost what they send out and be sure to enage in a dialog with them even if it is just clicking the like button or posting a short message.  Trust me, as someone who knows, I absolutely appreciate and value those who interact with me.

Hope these help you make the most of your experience online and I hope you share your ideas with me as well.