Ask a Real Estate Expert #4: How do you choose an architect and general contractor?

Ask a Real Estate Expert #4: How do you choose an architect and general contractor?

IFF’s Real Estate Solutions team works with a wide array of nonprofits that each have unique needs. For the next few months, we’ll be sitting down with Dominic LoGalbo, IFF’s Director of Consulting for Design and Construction, to answer a series of real estate-related questions we’ve gotten throughout the years from our nonprofit clients.

Previous installments:


Q: How do you choose an architect and a general contractor?

Dominic: A lot of times it depends on the priorities of the project. What’s your goal? If part of the mission is to maximize economic opportunity to as broad a population as possible, we’ll have a very broad and open selection process.

You’re going to be stuck in rooms with these people for many hours – in some cases for many years – and it’s helpful to feel that connection with the team.

If an organization is working with IFF, we’ll publicize the project, and anyone can submit a response to the request for proposal (RFP) for both the architect and general contractor. With a nonprofit client, we will develop an RFP and outline what services we’re looking for in the architect and general contractor. Some organizations may want a more focused and streamlined process, and we can provide a list of firms that match in terms of culture fit, experience, size, and cost. Many organizations may also reach out to colleagues and similar organizations to find out who they’ve used in the past. We adapt to the procurement policy of the nonprofit organization.

After receiving and reviewing the RFPs, we will set up interviews with prospects. There are two levels to determining if a partner will be a good culture fit for the organization – the organizational level and an inter-personal level. At the organizational level, you’re looking at: do they have experience working with nonprofits? Do they have experience in this sector, or with this project type? Are they a relationship-based organization? What is their track record? Then it comes down to the inter-personal level – to who is the client most comfortable with. You’re going to be stuck in rooms with these people for many hours – in some cases for many years – and it’s helpful to feel that connection with the team.

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