Being involved in a large-scale construction project can be incredibly exciting and has the potential to translate into major profits for all parties involved. However, it is essential that you closely monitor and oversee the project in order to protect your investment.
While commercial real estate lenders often assign their own inspectors to projects they are funding, these individuals cannot offer the same level of services as a specialized construction monitoring firm.
Partnering with an experienced construction consultant is by far the best way to protect all parties from the common risks associated with a major renovation, expansion, or new construction.
With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that you know what to look for when choosing construction monitoring services. By choosing the right partner, you can all but guarantee the success of your project.
What Is Construction Monitoring?
Generally speaking, a construction monitoring firm is tasked with protecting profit margins by clarifying expectations and accountability. A construction monitor will provide advising services and guidance to the various contractors that are working on a particular project.
Construction monitoring companies provide expert engineers and contractors to serve as an independent third-party that oversees commercial projects. They perform monthly on-site inspections, lead OAC (owner, architect, and contractor) meetings, and foster cooperation among team members.
A construction monitor cannot direct any of the work being performed during the course of the project, however it acts as a partner to keep the project on track with top quality.
How Does It Benefit All Stakeholders?
Hiring a construction monitor benefits everyone involved in a commercial project, including borrowers, investors, lenders, developers, architects, contractors, and eventually the end-user.
Borrowers and investors can rest assured that an objective third-party is closely monitoring the project. A construction expert has relevant expertise to assess the progress of a job site and identify any concerns that may result in costly delays.
They will then relay this information to borrowers and investors in their regular reports so any issues can be promptly addressed.
Developers, architects, and contractors are also at an advantage when working with construction monitors. A professional construction monitor can help assure that all contracts are fairly administered. Their duties may include tracking weather delays, resolution of design issues, and ensuring proper payment and retainage of contractors.The monitor acts as a liaison between parties to ensure everyone is working on the same page if issues arise.
Lenders and developers benefit because construction monitoring firms can provide more insights regarding a project’s progress than a bank inspector can.
A construction monitor will also minimize the risk of compensation-related claims or lawsuits. These claims can be extremely costly and time-consuming, which will negatively impact all involved parties.
Finally, the end-user of the buildings will benefit as the quality of work will be top notch with the construction monitor’s oversight. Previous leases and agreements will be able to remain in place with the project keeping on track and any quality issues will have been addressed during construction instead of after.
Construction Monitoring vs. Bank Inspections
Typically, a bank inspector will perform basic walkthroughs of a project site periodically. They will perform an initial inspection before the project gets underway and perform a “draw inspection” anytime the borrower requests the disbursement of additional funds.
During this type of inspection, they are ensuring that the previously disbursed funds were used as planned. Once the project is complete, they will perform a final inspection. If any additional funds are set to be released, the lender will disburse them after the final inspection.
Whereas a bank inspector is purely focused on protecting the lender, a construction monitoring firm looks out for the interests of all parties.
Why Would You Need a Construction Monitor for Your Project?
In addition to the benefits outlined above, a construction monitor ensures that all parties are receiving accurate, objective information at the same time. When everyone receives timely information, they are better positioned to carry out their duties under the contract.
You should use construction monitors anytime you are taking on a large-scale development project. Their services will result in a final building product that meets quality expectations, is completed on schedule, and is finished within budgetary guidelines.
Therefore, you should hire a construction monitor, even if the lender will not contribute, as the benefits drastically outweigh the financial costs.
What to Look for In a Construction Monitoring Firm
The construction monitor that you choose for your next project will have a major impact on its success or lack thereof. That is why you must carefully evaluate prospective construction monitoring firms before settling on a partner. We recommend that you consider the three following attributes:
Remember, a construction monitor cannot direct any of the work being performed on-site. Instead, they are serving two key roles. First, they will perform monthly inspections to ensure that your project is being completed in accordance with set deadlines.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the construction monitor will act as a facilitator of sorts. They will guide all team members through turbulent times that are sure to occur in the midst of a lengthy construction project. In order to effectively perform both tasks, the monitor will need a wealth of relevant experience.
When discussing construction monitoring services, ask the firm how many years of experience each of their senior members has. You want to work with a monitor that has at least 15 to 20 years of experience working on commercial construction job sites.
2. Quality of Service
After you have verified that a potential partner has the requisite experience, it is time to ask questions regarding the quality of service they provide.
Find out how long they take to send inspection reports, ask to see case studies of past works, etc. The goal is to gain additional insights into the company before you contract with them for construction monitoring services.
Finally, inquire as to what a monitor’s top priorities are when overseeing a project. Hopefully, their answer involves the phrase “objectivity.”
The best construction monitoring companies will take an independent and objective position so that they can hold all parties accountable for contractual obligations. By remaining objective, a construction monitor can help you avoid incurring liability claims, costly project failures, and other additional risks.
Construction Monitoring Services You Can Count On
Now that you know what to look for in a construction monitoring firm, it is time to find an experienced, reliable partner who works with integrity. zumBrunnen is that partner. We take a unique approach in order to drive real value for our clients and have delivered expert commercial construction advice to our clients for over 32 years.Interested in honest and credible construction monitoring services for your project? Contact us here! Let us take the surprises out of your most complex construction projects.