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Your Dream Chicago Construction Project: How to Make it True

There are just a few cities in the world where the construction industry is as developed as in Chicago, Illinois. And definitely, a rare city can be proud of such a mesmerizing engineering history! This has a downside too: if you are not a professional, it is very hard to choose the best contractors (or subcontractors) for your project — there are too many on the market!

In order to choose the best Chicago construction companies, you have to know the basics of the industry.

Fortress Home has created this article to provide you with all the knowledge you need. If you need additional information, give us a call at 773-770-8607.


Our company has been on the market for more than 20 years — and our specialists know most of Chicago's buildings and housing projects. There are hundreds of development and building examples in our portfolio and we will provide you with the best possible solutions.

Chicago construction: a brief history

Chicago is an American construction marvel: after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 the city has been completely rebuilt — and because of scarcity and high prices of land wooden buildings were replaced by skyscrapers. Constructed of iron, stone, and steel, they stood proud and set the tone for the future development of the country's metropolitan areas.

The Home Insurance Building, erected on the crossing of LaSalle and Adams streets in 1885, has become the archetype of a modern skyscraper. The first-ever used steel frame allowed the height and the stability of the structure. And the famous "common brick", produced in the area from clay, has set the ground of solid Chicago's masonry traditions. In order to build skyscrapers, steel production facilities were established in and around the city.

These factors, kickstarted by The Great Chicago Fire, were the reason for the industry's success. Today this city concentrates the best builders, masons, and steel manufacturers in the country — and maybe in the whole world.

5 main construction services you can get today in Chicago, Illinois

  1. Development of new real estate. Developers buy the raw land, "develop" the site (prepare for construction), get all the needed permits — and then build and sell the real estate. Often the company offers maintenance of the completed project, too
  2. Building projects of a different scale — from large commercial to tiny residential. The difference between the builders and the developers? The latter owns the land, the builders come on-site, often with their subcontractors, to finish the project and start the new one.
  3. Masonry. This is a construction business subdivision that can belong to both — a developer or a builder. Usually, a masonry contractor is a company that specializes specifically in brickwork and possesses all the needed knowledge and resources to provide masonry construction services.
  4. Repair or reconstruction of the real estate. Besides the building services provided by contractors, you can opt specifically for remodeling companies in case your house or a commercial building needs repair, remodeling, or reconstruction.
  5. Demolition of the old buildings. It is often impossible to complete a new project without demolishing the old one. This branch of the construction business (or, should we say deconstruction?) possesses all the needed tools and gets permits specifically for this job — so it makes total sense to hire these guys for a demolishing operation of any difficulty.
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Inside of the project: what to expect?

As we have already mentioned, the scale of one construction project can be so different from another, that it is pretty hard to describe all of the exact services that your Chicago construction company will provide to you. In general, there are a few basic steps that precede any construction project completion:

  • Land purchase and development
  • Permit management
  • Structure (steel, masonry, timber, etc.)
  • Water drainage, plumbing
  • Energy supply (gas, electricity, power)
  • HVAC (heating and air conditioning systems)
  • Ventilation and refrigeration
  • Fire detection and protection
  • Communications
  • Security systems
  • Green housing
  • Energy-efficient systems
  • Maintenance (ground, park, house, etc.)

How to choose the best Chicago construction company?

Start online. Search for top construction companies in the Chicago, Illinois area. Explore their sites, read testimonials, feel what impression you have after cruising through their online space. If you need additional information, contact the companies that you liked and ask a few questions.

Choose the contractor, depending on the project you need to complete. You might not need the knowledge and the connections of the general contractor if you just need to demolish your old house. And you certainly won't choose a mason if you're looking for a cabin-style wooden home.

Take into account the experience of the company. Experience is everything in the construction business.

It is a link between the genuine abilities and talent of the professionals and the efficiency of their approach to work. Only experience makes us avoid mistakes — and sometimes they are unforgivable when it comes to building.


Explore the portfolio of preliminary chosen contractors. Diversity of the finished projects, their style, the scale will tell you a lot about the company — like a family album about a person. Look at the photos and then discuss them over the phone or during a visit to their office. If you liked a particular project, talk about it and inquire about the math.

Take a live tour. Walk the neighborhoods and have a look at at least one completed project by the contractor. If it is a house — talk to the owners — clients of this company in the past. What was their experience? What review can they honestly give to the contractor? Are they satisfied with the overall quality of the building? Is it assembled without flaws? If all answers are positive, it's a good sign, you can move forward with this firm.

 

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When to build?

Start in spring

Spring is the best time to begin your construction project. Depending on your exact location, it can be either March or April. Don't wait until summer — it is the busiest time for any contractors! The company that you've chosen might not be able to squeeze you in. Remember, that they most likely will need to hire subcontractors too?

Remember about autumn sales

Even if the house from the ground up can be built throughout the year without breaks, the materials are on sale in Autumn — usually around October. If you are planning a house in the Chicago area that will suit your building schedule perfectly!

Don’t change plans

What about the time to build? It will totally depend on the project! The average completion period for a single-family house in the US is around 7-8 months. Remodeling residential projects takes less — from 3 to 6 months. Demolition of a house — from a few weeks to a couple of months.

But when it comes to large commercial developments, it can take years. Some of the big construction projects should not just have taken a decade to be completed, but also have been frozen due to global pandemic.

All the risks and the expenses have to be counted before the beginning of the project.


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Before the beginning of any construction, you must have a solid plan and a schedule provided to you by your contractor. If it says that your house will be finished in December, it must be finished in December, not in July or August. The contract must contain information about all of the milestones — and offer a transparent list of cases when fines are applied. Always sign the contract with the help of a professional lawyer!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose the best Chicago construction company?

First of all, base your choice on the type of your project. A business, specializing in masonry, won't really help you with timber. Then, look at the experience of the company — particularly in the Chicago area. It has to be extensive and deep. Explore the portfolio: do you like your potential contractor's style, approach, scale? Get a phone consultation, do some simple math. Compare quotes.

After you did the initial research, go offline, explore the finished projects and talk to the owners. Visit the chosen contractor's office, meet the team. Ask about deadlines directly: will they be able to complete the project by July, as you planned?

After performing these simple steps, you will most likely have a clear leader.

What services do Chicago construction companies provide?

Chicago construction companies offer different kinds of services, based on their business specialization. Development; building; masonry and woodworks; remodeling and reconstruction; demolition are the main ones. Then come such construction trades as carpentry, electricity, HVAC, water supply specialists, building inspectors, etc.

Fortress Home has been on the Chicago market for more than 20 years. We have extensive experience in the construction business and an impressive portfolio of works. Give us a call today at 773-770-8607 for a free estimate!

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