Alaska, Commercial Office

Moving Your Business Pt. 1: Finding the Right Contractors for Tenant Improvements

LONG Alaska experienced some great growth over the last few years, and we found ourselves in a tight spot, literally. The location we had been conducting business out of for so many years quickly became inadequate. We had over 40 people operating in a building that had two single-use bathrooms, slow internet, and 17 parking spots. The search for a new facility took months but we finally found one that fit most of our needs, but it was dated and needed updating to meet code and Title 21 Requirements. We knew from the start that hiring an architect and a good general contractor was going to be key to controlling costs and ensuring a smooth as possible project. Operating in the construction industry certainly helped us develop a short list of candidates with good reputations, but you may not have that same foundation we have. We’d like to share some of our knowledge to help you when you’re in a similar situation.

When looking for contractors for tenant improvements, we suggest the following criteria:

  • Availability and capacity to manage the project. Ask about their backlog and a commitment to the project that they will be on site for until completion.  
  • Great communication skills. Did they consistently call you back in a timely manner? If not, that will likely be the trend throughout the project.
  • Ability to control costs and scope creep. Ask what measures they take to ensure your intent is being met within the scope, and how do they manage out-of-scope work? Good contractors will present a proposal with great details and warn you when a request may be a change order before proceeding.
  • Who would be the subcontractors working on the project? This is as important as the general contractor. Their reputations and work ethics should align well.
  • Overall grade and quality of work expected. Not every project needs to be the same grandiose quality as the Golden Gate Bridge, but you likely don’t want shanties built either. Ensure that the quality of their work is the same value you are willing to pay for.
  • This is important! Your overall project is likely to mirror experiences their previous customers have had. Call on their references and see if you can’t find a few not on their list.
  • Does the general contractor and subcontractors meet your minimum requirements for insurance, licensing, and bonding? Ask for proof of their licensing and insurance to be sure they meet any requirements you may have. If you don’t know what requirements you should ask for, contact your insurance company for guidance.

Our project included typical framing, flooring, sheetrock, painting, and landscaping. The contractor also had to pave the parking lot and install two LONG-provided RTUs (roof top units) as part of our HVAC system. Of course, we installed our own CCTV, access control, and intrusion detection systems, but that could be included in your own project if needed.

This was a huge undertaking! Our general contractor and their subcontractors did a fantastic job, but not without a lot of communication, compromise, and commitment. LONG works with general contractors and other trades on a daily basis. Our work experience and relationships gave us an advantage when planning and executing this project. We share this same expertise with building owners and facility managers to help them design, navigate, and execute building automation controls, HVAC, or security projects.

LONG brings more than just service and installation to the table. Call one of our experts to ensure your project meets your goals today.

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Chris Bracken

Christopher Bracken the Branch Manager for all LONG business units in Alaska. Chris is also a professional artist and enjoys his family time as a proud Dad to three highly-energetic boys.