Beyond the Build


Simple Steps Toward Better Relationships

I’ve been in business long enough that I can speak with confidence when I say the actual construction is just a part of the formula that gets a building constructed. It’s all about relationships. The better the relationships, the better chance for success, at least most of the time. In my opinion, this applies to a lot of other industries as well.

As a general contractor, our web of contacts is specialized and broad, all at the same time. We need to have solid relationships with those in the real estate arena, whether it’s those in development or those who are involved in all the processes that create success. While it may seem like this group is diverse–and it is–the keys to maintaining solid relationships seems to span the gaps between how these professionals think and work. Here are a few constants I have found along the trail.

Communicate. It sounds so simple, but having an ongoing dialogue is vital to getting work in the door, producing top quality results and then creating repeat business, which is one of our keys to success.

Show respect. This goes beyond common courtesy and kindness, although those are certainly important. Listen more than you talk. When you do speak, make sure you set clear expectations. When mistakes are made (a given) show a little grace.

Care. If you are passionate about what you do and engage with the people you come in contact with, you will produce better results 100% of the time. So will they, because success breeds success.

In construction, we will always be meeting unique challenges and adapting the way we work and deliver. Regardless of how much our industry evolves, there will be no substitute for hard work and strong relationships.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.