What to Look for When You Need a Multi-Family Construction Project Done

ETI Construction is proud to serve the Chicago community by completing multi-family construction projects professionally at every scale. Our construction build process breaks down into twelve simple steps that guide you from the very first call through the last exit interview. Each step of the way, we prioritize communication with clients, making it as easy as possible for you to ask questions, express concerns, and inform us of potential changes. We do not shuffle any of our team around. Every person you work with, from leadership to crew, stays with you from the day you’re introduced. Let’s take a look at the finer points of the construction process for multi-family units.

multifamily home

What is Multi-Family Construction?

Multi-family construction refers to any construction project aiming to erect a building that will house multiple inhabitants. They do not strictly have to be families. Multi-family housing includes everything from townhouses to duplexes, condominiums to apartments. Traditionally, a multi-family building will contain unique amenities for each unit as opposed to shared amenities like a communal kitchen. Multi-family structures can be mixed-use buildings that include an arrangement of both commercial spaces and residential spaces. The commercial spaces tend to be the most accessible, whether that means the entire first floor or just the front of the building on the street. In truth, if we were to name every type of multi-family structure, the list would be nearly as long as the number of places where they are in use. Anywhere space is at a premium, you can trust that multi-family builders have the ingenuity to stack compact housing.

Multi-Family Builders’ Specialization and Experience

Several business practices and traits elevate some construction firms from the rest in the multi-family construction market. Successful apartment builders must have access to resources. The ability to take on projects of any size with a proven track record of success is a badge of competence for the best multi-family construction companies. Another important consideration is whether the firm is flexible enough to accommodate a customer’s needs. Construction contractors work to collaborate with you, not the other way around, so communicating with them should feel easy. One metric to determine successful multi-family builders is their staff turnover rate. If employees work longer in the same circumstances, they will work more efficiently and effectively than employees with a shorter tenure. Their on-site experience also allows them to catch small problems before they gain momentum or create fissures that climb up the chain of command to affect the entire project.

Project Management and Communication

Construction project management is an immensely complex professional field. The project management process can be simplified into phases: initiation, planning, execution and monitoring, and completion. First, the manager heading the multi-family construction project must refine the business case, test for viability, communicate with all involved parties, and draft a charter. Then, the full project team plans the project down to the most granular detail. From tracking permits, to breaking down and assigning tasks, to establishing communication infrastructure for the project, everyone is involved at this stage. Then the construction work begins. Even the best multi-family construction must be monitored for quality control and safety risks every day. This also ensures that progress milestones are met according to plan. Lastly, when the builders finish, the team finalizes the process in reports and discusses pain points and victories. Competent multi-family builders will communicate clearly at every step.

best multifamily construction

Budgeting for the Best Multi-Family Construction

The overhead costs of a multi-family construction project vary highly depending on the final goal. An enormous condominium complex costs many times the total of a small batch of townhouses. Keep in mind that a large amount of a project’s budget is tethered to the contractors who win the initial bid. The project bid selection process is either open or closed. Open bids are advertised for any contractor, while closed bids are only offered to a selected pool. Then, the project owner decides on the contractor based on specific criteria. This could be a low bid, where the lowest price wins, or qualifications-based, where each contractor is judged based on experience, plans, and past successes. It could also be anywhere between the two. 

Another major factor in construction project budgeting is the payment model. Construction contracts are usually paid in one of five ways. Guaranteed maximum price is the most risk-averse. It refers to a price that the project will not exceed, regardless of the final calculated total. Lump sum refers to an upfront, agreed-upon overall cost that will be paid regardless of other variables. Cost-plus-fee is like a lump sum except it contains a percentage for the contractor in case of any contingencies. The most flexible option is paying per unit throughout the project. Lastly, time and materials contracts bill hourly for labor and add up individual material costs. Fluctuations in the market make those costs uncertain from the start point. It’s critical to consult all stakeholders when establishing or revising the budget plan and to be sure to account for all indirect and variable costs.

Ask for References and Portfolios

Portfolios are the contractor equivalent of a resume. As a professional standard, portfolios will include photographs of past work. Visual references are the easiest way to figure out whether or not a construction company can accommodate your wants. Before and after process photos are also helpful for this reason. Testimonials are another informational aspect of portfolios. Including testimonials from past clients displays that the contractor has built relationships of trust and knows how to communicate with customers. Testimonials also offer potential moments of unique problem-solving, insight, and other demonstrations of multi-family builders’ character. However, use discretion. If your project focuses on a cozy 12-unit development and you are negotiating with a contractor whose portfolio prioritizes larger projects with few to no examples of work at a comparable scale, you may be better suited to work with other builders.

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The Best Multi-Family Construction in the Neighborhood

ETI Construction specializes in multi-family construction in Chicago. We have a proven track record of multi-family projects of all sizes, having completed everything between three-unit flats and 60-unit buildings. We also offer services for complete interior and exterior renovation as well as full gut or spot remodeling. If you do not want to see any gaps in your rental property income stream, ask us about our Express Turnover Service for occupied buildings. Our solutions will add immediate value to your assets. If you are interested in a residential or commercial construction project with ETI Construction, get in contact with us today.