Getting the best GC for your project

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Tom_Oconnor_colorFrom Tom O’Connor
Senior Vice President, Project and Development Services



After the Boston construction industry hit rock bottom in 2010, it slowly recovered over the next two years. Since August 2012, however, construction activity has jumped. Today Boston is experiencing almost the fastest construction employment growth in the country.


While all of this activity is great for the economy, it can be difficult if you are in need of a General Contractor (GC) to build your project. To cope with this, here are some suggestions:

  • Find the right project match for each GC. Not every project is the right fit with regard to type, size, and schedule. GCs will be more apt to bid on projects that make sense for their business.
  • Invite a smaller number of GCs to compete. Keeping a list to three allows GCs to feel like they have a realistic opportunity, which in turn means you will receive a focused and competitive proposal. In reality, there is no pricing benefit to having a large invite list, as most GCs typically use the same subcontractors.
  • Use a Fee/General Conditions and Qualifications selection process.  A Fee/General Conditions and Qualifications selection process, instead of a lump sum bid or competitive GMP, promotes transparency and partnering.  Bringing a GC on board early in preconstruction adds value to the team and is more appealing to GCs for several reasons.  First, it makes them feel valued as a team member. Second, it allows them to explain their approach to pricing, subcontractor selection, etc, creating a relationship that is transparent and collaborative. With an Open Book approach, the client still gets the benefit of a transparent competitive bid, with multiple subcontractors bidding each trade.
  • Group small projects. This will lead to the best pricing through economy of scale, and make projects more attractive to GCs.
  • For future work. A master agreement with a GC will lock in favorable rates for fees and general conditions, as well as contract terms.

With these recommendations, the process of selecting a GC will be streamlined and the relationship seamless.


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