Just recently, I was asked to meet a new client at their place to discuss what they wanted to do to it. As the case with many of my referrals, I met this client through the general contractor (GC) that the client already selected. This often happens when the client's mindset is to first have a desire to have something built, find someone to build it, then find someone to figure out what needs to be built. This is no different than finding the cart before figuring out what horse you need to pull it.
I met the GC face to face for the first time when we met at the project site. He was a friend of the client's and had some experience installing minor things - such as replacing cabinets, counter tops and doors - for small scale projects. He had no idea that he needed a tracking number from the NY City Department of Buildings (DOB) in order to get a construction permit to do the things my client wanted done. (Call our office, at 212-594-2007, if you need to know what a tracking number is - hint - it is a number that the DOB issuses after they receive paper work that clears them from any liability).
So, as the design development was underway, I called this GC to "coach" him along the path of getting this tracking number. I also referred to him some other people who spend hours and hours every week day at the DOB and who could hold his hand at getting this done before he really needed it.
As we were finishing up the construction documents and about to file the application for the construction permit, I called the GC to help him along the tracking number trail.
Just last week, I got a frantic call from the client saying that they have general contractor problems because the tracking number has not been aquired. Now, the application is approved and there is no GC to pull the permit. This project is so small that it might take some arm twisting to persuade any GC's in my roladex to bid this job. The original GC would be ideal because the project is so small but might loose his opportunity soon.
So, avoid having this problem by not pre-selecting the GC before hiring the architect. The architect can not only design the space for you but also help build a team that will better serve you better than, say, a favorite cousin of a step brother of a third removed relationship...