Your project lies in the hands of your contractor. Choose the wrong one and you can be left with a host of problems before construction even begins.

Knowing what to look for in a general contractor can help you find the best construction team for your next project. Here are the top five characteristics your general contractor should have:

1. Quality isn’t a buzzword

Every contractor will list quality as one of its top priorities, but how each upholds quality throughout each phase of construction may differ. Request that your contractor share stories about times it has exceeded industry standards and about its quality control program.

Do they have a dedicated team that will audit the practices implemented on your project? Will there be a team member assigned to your project to monitor quality?

Your contractor also should review what technology it uses — such as building information modeling, virtual design and construction, virtual reality and other construction-focused software — to ensure quality.

2. Adaptability comes with ease

Even with thorough planning, unknowns such as unmarked underground utilities or extreme weather conditions can arise on any job site. Having a contractor that is experienced in tackling a range of project challenges will help prevent these unknowns from greatly affecting your project’s completion. A great contractor will be ready to review emergency plans and share examples on how it has adapted and addressed unknowns on previous projects.

3. Good communication means more than answering emails

Whether you’re building a new space or renovating an existing one, your contractor should act as a day-to-day resource to help ease the construction process and alleviate any concerns. Look for a contractor that holds weekly meetings to review project progress and shares daily updates with your residents and staff. It also should communicate often with the architect, subcontractors and suppliers to ensure work is completed with accuracy and on time.

4. Safety goes beyond the signs

As with quality, safety is a topic that every contractor should address. This is especially important for senior living communities that remain occupied during construction, where extra safety precautions should be put in place to protect residents and staff.

Look for a contractor that delivers a site-specific safety plan, including a list of safety personnel assigned to your project, scheduled daily inspections and a hazard analysis. Great contractors also will share initiatives and trainings it implements to ensure job site safety, including policies regarding subcontractor compliance with project-specific safety expectations.

5. Financial stability is a strong foundation

A contractor’s financial history can help shed a light on its ability to deliver your project.

Contractors should provide financial statements and offer any references from banks or vendors. This will show whether the contractor is paying its subcontractors and suppliers in a timely manner, if it ever has filed for bankruptcy, or any other potential financial issues.

Your contractor plays a key role in the success of your senior living community. Your selection can make the difference between receiving a quality space that attracts residents or one that is delivered behind schedule and over budget. Knowing what characteristics to look for can help you spot the best general contractor for your project.