If you live or work in Orlando, you’ve likely seen the building dubbed the “I-4 Eyesore.” In Florida, unfinished construction projects, particularly in the housing market, contributed to the collapse of real estate in certain areas in the Great Recession. For this reason, it’s easy to see unfinished projects or buildings (just like the I-4 Eyesore) and think that unfinished projects are a void for opportunity. But, in some cases, a project left unfinished by another builder can mean a major opportunity for you.
These projects may remain unfinished because the original contractor had bankruptcy issues, or it may be due to disputes between the owners and builders. No matter the reason, as a contractor, there are opportunities hiding in unfinished projects all around us. Not unlike that old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” you could say that one man’s unfinished project is another man’s next contract.
In this article, Orlando construction attorneys with Cotney Construction Law share three reasons that contractors may find major opportunities in the unfinished projects of others and a few tips if you are working on a bid for work that was previously started by another firm.
Reason 1: You Can Establish Your Construction Firm as the Go-To for Fixing Problems
The construction industry is built on relationships, and these relationships with clients and reputation with vendors will establish you as the go-to for certain types of projects. Your firm may have a solid reputation for taking on new projects but, by bidding on previously unfinished projects, you can increase your visibility and “brand awareness,” so to speak, as the firm that can come fix and finish what others begin.
This will not be established with just one project but, by being able to take on projects and work with vendors and property owners who may previously have been embroiled in litigation or disputes with the prior builders, you will establish trust and reliability for your firm.
Reason 2: Projects May Move Faster due to Previously Completed Work
In many instances, projects that were previously stopped for any number of reasons will already have a good portion of the work done. It may be challenging, of course, to undo or redo the work of a prior builder, but, in some cases, it may actually lead to faster completion of projects. As you work with the property owner and complete a walk-through to understand what has already been completed, you’ll likely find that your bid and contract can more easily include a shorter timeline. Subsequently, your firm may complete projects faster, meaning that you can take on more projects in a shorter amount of time. An Orlando contractor attorney will help you include reasonable timelines in your bid and contract and advise you on how to approach the different time constraints.
Reason 3: You May Be Given the Opportunity to Collaborate with Other Builders, Architects, and Contractors
As mentioned before, relationships are the core of your business when you are in construction. Building these relationships takes time and experience, and there is no better way to build positive relationships with other contractors than to collaborate on a project.
When working on a previously unfinished project, you may have to collaborate with architects with whom you have not previously worked as you work off of their building plans. You will also have the opportunity to work with vendors and materials providers you haven’t built a prior relationship with as you navigate picking up where the prior contractor left off. Of course, you will also have the opportunity to include in your contract your preferred vendors, architects, and builders.
Tips for Bidding on Previously Unfinished Projects
Bidding on any project requires time and effort. The Orlando construction lawyers with Cotney Construction Law will help you craft a bid that is right for the specific project, whether new or previously unfinished. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind when bidding on previously unfinished projects.
- Don’t Bid on Every Project – Before bidding, evaluate whether a given project is feasible and whether it would result in enough of a profit to be worthwhile. Remember that just because you’ve started a bid doesn’t mean that you need to finish or submit it. If your preliminary research reveals that a project isn’t a good fit for your company, abandon the bid and move on.
- Include All the Correct Documents – Forgetting a requested document is an unfortunate way to get what could have otherwise been a winning bid rejected.
- Double Check the Measurement Units – Using the wrong units is another common mistake. Sometimes you may be required to submit in linear feet, other times in linear meters. Make sure you’re not operating on autopilot after past experiences.
- Evaluate Subcontractor Pricing – Your subcontractor pricing evaluation is a critical part of an accurate cost estimate. Any miscalculations have the power to significantly skew your totals. It’s typically best to use a prequalification (prequal) process to assess with whom you want to work. A prequal gives you insight into your potential subcontractors’ experience levels and previous projects.
- Identify Risks and Seek Clarification – When it comes to a construction bid, especially one for a previously unfinished project, crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s is of the utmost importance. Identify and analyze any potential risks so that you are prepared if they actually occur. Some construction projects have deadlines for seeking clarification that differs from the bid deadline itself. For example, you may need to ask whether building material substitutions are allowed in the bid. It’s imperative that you seek such clarifications in a timely manner.
If you are looking to bid on or complete a previously unfinished construction project, Cotney Construction Law’s experienced Orlando construction lawyers will provide sound legal advice and assist your firm with any construction need. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide a myriad of other valuable services for construction businesses, including contract review, employment law advice, and litigation and arbitration services. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, permitting issues, stop-work orders, business immigration, and more.
If you would like to speak with an Orlando construction lawyer, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.