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As Seen in NNBW: Rob Smith: Tips for TIs (Voices)

If you are a business owner, your business space is essential to the success of your operations. Whether you run an office, a warehouse, a retail store, or any other type of business, having a functional and aesthetically pleasing space is crucial for attracting customers, keeping employees productive, and ultimately, generating revenue.

One way to improve your business space is through a tenant improvement (TI) project. A TI project is a construction project that improves the interior of a commercial space to better suit the needs of the tenant. This can include everything from minor cosmetic updates, such as painting and flooring, to major renovations, such as adding new walls or modifying electrical and plumbing systems.

However, selecting a contractor for a TI project can be a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the construction industry. It’s important to find a contractor who has experience in your industry, is licensed and insured, has a solid portfolio of past work, offers design-build capabilities, has a clear project management approach, works with qualified subcontractors, and has a transparent pricing structure.

By taking the time to find the right contractor for your TI project, you can help ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to your satisfaction. In this expert column, we will dive into these considerations in more detail, so you can make an informed decision when selecting a contractor for your TI project.

Look for experience in your industry: It’s advantageous to hire a contractor with experience in your industry because they will be familiar with the unique requirements and regulations, as well as the specific materials and equipment used in your industry. They may also have established relationships with vendors and suppliers, which can help ensure the project runs smoothly and is completed on time and on budget.

Verify licenses and insurance: Each state or region has its own licensing and insurance requirements for contractors. Verify that the contractor you are considering meets the requirements for your area, including any specific certifications or qualifications that apply to your project. Checking licenses and insurance can help protect you in case of any accidents or incidents that may occur during the project.

Check their portfolio: Reviewing the contractor’s portfolio is an excellent way to gauge their experience and quality of work. Look for projects that are similar in scope and industry to your project. Reviewing the portfolio can also give you ideas and inspiration for your project, and help you communicate your vision to the contractor.

Consider their design-build capabilities: A design-build contractor may be an excellent choice for your TI project if you prefer a streamlined process. Design-build contractors handle both the design and construction phases of the project, which can lead to a more cohesive and efficient process. Design-build contractors can also help you save time and money by identifying potential issues and solutions during the design phase.

Discuss their project management approach: Good project management is essential for a successful TI project. Ask the contractor about their project management approach, including how they will handle any issues or changes that arise during the project.

A good contractor will have a clear plan for managing the project and keeping you informed throughout. Communication is key, so ensure the contractor has an open-door policy for questions and concerns.

Ask about their subcontractors: Contractor’s work with subcontractors for specific parts of the project, such as electrical or plumbing work. Ask about the subcontractors they work with and ensure they are qualified and experienced. Request the names and contact information of the subcontractors and ask for references.

Understand their pricing structure: The contractor’s pricing structure should be clear and detailed. Ensure you understand how they charge for changes to the project scope or timeline, and what potential additional costs may arise during the project. Request a detailed breakdown of the pricing structure and review it carefully to ensure there are no surprises.

In summary, selecting a contractor for a TI project requires careful consideration of several factors. Hiring a contractor with experience in your industry, verifying licenses and insurance, reviewing their portfolio, considering their design-build capabilities, discussing their project management approach, asking about their subcontractors, and understanding their pricing structure are all critical factors to consider.

By taking the time to do your due diligence, you can find a contractor who is the right fit for your project and help ensure a successful outcome.

Rob Smith is owner of Montane Building Group. Established in 2012 by owners Smith and Paul Slocum, Montane Building Group strives to bring their clients the best possible results for every project. With over 25 years of expertise in the construction industry, Smith is a LEED Accredited Professional known for his versatile skills as a Field Engineer, Superintendent, Estimator, and Project Manager.

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