KA-BOOM! We were pulling a feeder cable through a Chicago retail construction project when we heard the explosion. Then, the transformer blew out. What the heck happened? It was a case for the Englewood Construction CSI team.
Step 1: We pulled out the cable to find it completely destroyed.
Step 2: We rented a sewer camera and discovered a metal object stuck to the existing pipe, which scraped the cable and caused the explosion.
Step 3: We fixed the problem. Case closed.
At one point or another, even the best Chicago commercial construction contractors are susceptible to a construction site demon. In some situations, like the exploding cable above, the job was delayed by just 1.5 days. But in a retrofit construction job or an REO commercial property where the distressed asset has been neglected for awhile, there could be significant delays to your commercial construction timeline and an increase in commercial construction costs depending on the scope of the problem.
While you can’t ward off all commercial construction site problems, follow these commercial construction tips below and your chances of running into an unforeseen condition should decrease significantly.
- In a restaurant or retail retrofit job, you really are going in blind to the property, which is why you need to enlist a commercial general contractor early on. (See below)
- Typically, the architect is hired first and completes a very general site survey before submitting drawings. Then, the GC is hired and performs an exploratory search. If the GC uncovers any real problem on the site, you now have delays and need to pay for a second round of drawings. To avoid this, have your commercial construction contractor on hand during the architect’s commercial site survey so the GC can verify the safety and viability of the construction site.
- If your project is a retrofit and you want to save on construction costs by re-using existing infrastructure or construction materials, an experienced GC will examine areas that often fall short of code due to poor maintenance, such as electrical work (lights), bathrooms and HVAC units, just to name a few.
- Take the temperature of your building into account. For a hospitality construction job involving an REO chain of hotels, we knew the buildings were abandoned and cold, so we assumed there would be water leaks in the pipes and factored detailed exploratory work and pressure tests into our construction budget that saved the client money in the long run.
- Find the original general commercial contractor of your project site. At one of our current Chicago restaurant construction projects, it’s a good case of déjà vu because we were the original GC for the retail space back in 2002. We already know any potential construction site demons so our construction timeline is much shorter than a firm’s not familiar with the site.
- And one time, a member of our team tapped his experience with a retail retrofit project that went back 20 years to the first time he worked on the complicated site. Granted this doesn’t usually happen, but it’s a win-win for everyone when it does.
What was your worst construction site horror story and how did you fix it?
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