You can have a great design, details worthy of graphic standards, wonderful renderings, specifications that read like a Tolstoy novel, awesome clients, and an unlimited budget… and yet the completed project can be horrific. No matter how great of an architect you may think you are, you are nothing without a good general contractor. A GOODgc is your best advocate and crucial to the success of a project. On the flip-side, a BADgc can ruin the best of all projects. Do you have a GOODgc or a BADgc? Hopefully, you’ve determined this prior to construction, if not, here are a few examples as to what type gc you have:

Scenario A: There is a problem with a detail as drawn, it just doesn’t work quite as intended.

GOODgc: “Look at detail 23/A3.5, it doesn’t quite work. I’m going to fax over three possible solutions, when you’ve had a chance to review them give me a call. In the meantime we’ll work on the gilded bust of you in the foyer”

BADgc: “What sheet is that detail on? Oh okay, I see it now, detail 23/A3.5, it don’t work. You need to come out here and look at it and then get me a correct detail. I’m sending the crew to another job for a few days, call me when you know what you want me to do…oh yeah, it’s probably going to change the schedule and cost more.”

Scenario B: The laundry room doesn’t graphically show the equipment.

GOODgc: “The laundry room doesn’t show a washer and dryer, you do intend for us to provide them, correct? Yeah, I thought so… okay will do. Oh, by the way, that bust of you in the foyer, are you sure the head is big enough? Just kidding, I thought you’d find that amusing.”

 BADgc: “What do you mean you want a washer and dryer in the laundry room? We bid the drawings as-is, there is no indication of a washer and dryer. Print something off your CAD machines and get it to me. Once I know what you want I will submit a change order. I’m sending the crew to another job for a few days, call me when you know what you want me to do.”

Scenario C: Ductwork soffits.

GOODgc: (Phones prior to commencing work) “We’re getting close to running ductwork. Can you meet next week with us to review the duct layout? I see the note on the spec sheet and want to avoid any re-framing. The bust of yours is almost finished. I’m not sure gold is shiny enough though for your personality, what do you think?”

 BADgc: (Phones after the mechanical contractor has completed the work) “What do you mean look at the spec sheet… those are just boiler plate notes, we don’t read that! So just because it says in the spec sheet that I should submit all duct layouts to the architect for approval prior to the commencement of framing and that no extras will be given for any modification required to the framing due to ductwork, you expect me to pay to have this re-framed? I just don’t see the problem of having a soffit run across the ceiling of the new family room… it’s not like we centered the soffit or anything.”

Of course these are some extreme examples, typically gc’s fall somewhere between. You need to determine which GC’s are good for you and your work and keep them on the team, without a GOODgc you only get something built.

So what GOODgc BADgc experiences can you share?

** I’ve been careless on properly referencing the image to its source…meaning I haven’t and just used an image search engine. Inform me if I’ve used a copy written image and I’ll remove the image and send you something.

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