You’ve negotiated tenant improvements and signed your lease agreement. Now it’s time to find a commercial contractor in Los Angeles to start your project. Choosing the right Los Angeles area commercial construction company to work with is pivotal to your project’s success. You’ll need meticulous construction planning, cost estimates, project management, and skilled/experienced laborers. Here are a few things to consider as you begin the process of choosing a commercial contractor for tenant improvements.

Design, Plan & Estimate

Before you can even entertain the thought of getting project estimates/quotes, you first need to plan. Especially if your improvements or buildouts are significant in size or scope. In that case, an architect may need to come aboard. If you aren’t working with a specific architect, a good commercial contractor should have one or two in their network to refer you to.

You want a commercial construction contractor that’s experienced, licensed, and familiar with Southern California building codes and regulations. Whether your project is in the city of Los Angeles or its suburbs – Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, or Ventura County – you need someone familiar with local codes, regulations, and the process of acquiring permits. This will spare you a lot of headaches down the road, trust us.

Now we can finally get to estimating construction costs. When sifting through your options of local commercial construction companies to work with, the bid amount is important but shouldn’t be the sole reason for your selection. In addition to looking at the amount of their estimate, you also need to look and ask for the following:

  • License Number
  • Proof of Insurance
  • References
  • Project Portfolio
  • Years in Business

Always keep in mind that any project estimate is a preliminary cost estimate – not a guaranteed price. A completely accurate final cost estimate isn’t possible until final municipal approval, itemization, and alignment with final plans and specs. Be sure to ask for a very detailed cost estimate prior to signing anything. You should also allow for an allowance to cover contingencies or aspects of the job that remain unclear for the time being.

Project Reporting/Evaluation/Oversight

Many commercial construction companies offer their own project management and progress reporting. They’ll set the project schedule, establish milestones they’re looking to meet, and provide weekly reporting that includes:

  • Inspection Reports
  • Progress Reports
  • Schedule Updates
  • Delay Notifications

A clear payment structure also needs to be discussed and agreed upon. This offers the contractor some peace of mind and helps avoid misunderstandings with payments that could potentially delay your project.

Final Walk Through With Contractor

In order to receive final payment, contractors in the United States are bounded by contract to complete a list of contractually obligated items known as a punch list. Each item on the list should be marked off as work is completed. A final walk through with the contractor is typical to verify each item has been completed to satisfaction.

Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is expected once the project is completed. This certificate confirms the work has passed the inspection of all relevant local authorities and you can finally open for business.