Commercial Build Out: Whom Do I Hire First, The General Contractor Or Architect?

Commercial Build Out: Whom Do I Hire First, The General Contractor Or Architect?

Question: When conducting a commercial build out, whom do I hire first, the general contractor or the architect?

Answer: You can hire either one first, the general contractor or the architect.

Unless you already have an architect in mind that you want to use, it’ll be less work to hire the general contractor first. That’s because we work with trusted and highly reputable architects we can refer you to, thus eliminating the need to research and interview a bunch of architects. If you already have someone you want to work with, we are more than happy to work with your pre-selected architect throughout the build out process.

The Role Of The Architect In An Office Build Out

An experienced architect brings a lot of knowledge and power to your project. Since they are familiar with local building codes, you are set up for success from the get-go. Plus, they can suggest different materials that’ll help save money or offer more efficiency, sustainability, etc.

Your architect takes all of your wants, needs and the actual space you are outfitting into consideration, ultimately putting together a feasible and precise plan that can be read and brought to life by a building team.

While we are more than happy to set you up with a great architect, our job really starts after the original plans are completed. We work off of architectural plans to start bidding-out projects, acquiring materials, creating project time lines and so forth.

Is The Architect Around Throughout The Entire Build Out Process?

The architect doesn’t need to be on site every day work is conducted, can you imagine how quickly costs for that would add up? But they should continue to play an active role in the project even after the first sets of drawings are complete. Architects remain in contact with the project in order to:

-Address any changes due to unforeseen hurdles, shifted expectations, etc.  In most cases, the architect charges an additional fee to redraft plans.

-Address any confusion over drawings. Drawings are looked at by many different contractors making it very easy for drawings to be misinterpreted. It’s just as easy to overlook certain details. If the architect is around throughout the duration of the project, it helps ensure the end results truly resemble the original drawings.

Benefits To Hiring An Architect First

You can hire someone you personally know or have worked with in the past.

You already have a solid plan of action the first time you meet with your general contractor. As a result, you’ll get a quicker estimate for how much the build out will cost.

Benefits To Hiring a General Contractor First

You don’t do any of the footwork finding a reputable architect. We take care of that by referring you to a trusted architect we have worked with many times. 

You avoid the risks of hiring someone you’ve never worked with before. We aren’t going to refer you to some random architect. We work with trusted industry professionals known for their high quality work.

What Does The General Contractor Do?

As your general contractor, our job is to put together all of the working pieces required to bring the architectural plans for your office build out to life. We work back and forth with your architect to keep plans in budget and on task, using the final architectural drawings to bid out to the right subcontractors, purchase materials and so forth. In order to prevent small issues from ballooning into large problems, we hold regular meetings with all sub contractors on the project. This also helps keep your project in budget and moving along the specified timeline. We provide you with detailed updates throughout the entire process.

What About Hiring A Designer For Commercial Build Outs?

The majority of designers are not trained in architecture or engineering, instead they bring style and added functionality to your space through creativity and a broader understanding of design concepts. An architect should overview more extensive designer elements in order to prevent sagging beams, instable supports or other structural issues.

Certain designers specialize in commercial build outs, and can help design a space that is friendlier to employees and customers. Thus providing ample ongoing benefits to the end results of your build out. For tighter budgets or more basic build outs, a general contractor and architect may be all you need.