Just about any building project—whether it’s commercial or residential—will require you to work with multiple professionals. However, arguably the two most important people you will hire for a project will be your architect and your general contractor. The architect is responsible for the design of the space and the general contractor is responsible for overseeing its construction. Depending on which general contractor you hire, he or she may also personally complete a portion of the work. Because these are the two most vital people working on your project, ideally, you will want them to work well together.
Good communication is key when it comes to choosing a Long Beach architect and a general contractor. Not only do you want them both to communicate well with you, but also with each other. During the building phase of your project, your general contractor may have a question regarding the plans that your architect drafted. Or there may be a situation at the building site that your architect didn’t anticipate. It’s important for your general contractor to have the ability to call up your architect and ask him or her for clarity or guidance. It’s equally important that your architect be willing to work with your general contractor after the design phase is completed. Hiring an architect and a general contractor who have worked well together in the past is almost always the best option!
Can You Depend on Referrals Between Architects and General Contractors?
If you’re a cynical person, you may be one to question referrals among professionals in related industries. Are they just friends who have agreed to refer each other? Are they giving each other kickbacks for referrals? That might be the case with some professionals—even in other areas of the construction industry—but there’s a good reason to trust referrals between architects and general contractors: They both depend on the other to do good work, so they wouldn’t refer you to someone they weren’t confident in.
An architect will definitely want to refer you to a skilled general contractor because the ultimate success of the project depends on him or her being able to successfully execute the architect’s design. If the project ends up going poorly—if the work performed is shoddily, if the project fails multiple inspections, or if it drags on longer than it should—the client will be largely disappointed. Even if the architect had produced an amazing set of plans for the client, all the client will think about is that the project didn’t turn out as they had hoped. This means no referrals for the architect from that client, and maybe even a bad review.
Similarly, you can generally trust a general contractor’s referral if they recommend a Long Beach architect they have worked with successfully in the past. The general contractor will have seen the architect’s plans and be familiar with the level of detail that is included. Working off of a good set of design plans can definitely make a general contractor’s job easier. He or she won’t have to ask for clarification at every turn, and they won’t have to “fill in the gaps” in areas where the architect didn’t give enough details.
Even though they aren’t designers themselves, most general contractors know the difference between good architectural design and bad architectural design. They also likely know which local architects are best suited for different types of projects (residential remodels, custom home design, tenant improvements, etc.). In the same vein, an architect will typically know which local general contractors are able to handle the type of work that your project includes. For example, they wouldn’t recommend an architect who specializes in residential remodels for your large commercial project.
Hiring the right Long Beach architect and general contractor can make or break your project. Always do your due diligence. Ask for more than one referral and look at past work. Make sure whomever you hire is easy to communicate with and listens to your ideas and concerns.