Let’s face it – not all contractors are created equal. While many are trustworthy and capable, there are shady operators who lowball bids and execute subpar quality work. Your commercial restoration project is a major investment in the longevity and safety of the structure and finding a trusted contractor should be fundamental to the project planning process.
Check References, Qualifications, and Resources
Starting with references is always a good idea when vetting new contractor relationships. Do they have client referrals from past projects? Ask them directly for references to begin the research process and make sure you have a quality set of questions for the references:
- Did the contractor complete work on time and at the agreed-upon budget?
- What was the quality like and how did their work hold up?
- Were they able to communicate well and work to meet your specific needs?
- Did your project have any specific challenges they had to overcome?
Ask specific questions to draw out details and confirm if the reference and projects seem real and accountable. You might even drive by to verify if the project location is local and visible to the general public.
Don’t rely on references alone, however. Research their certifications and qualifications while comparing them against their internal resources. What equipment do they have, are they doing projects of this nature regularly, etc.
Professional certifications, industry associations, and memberships are a way contractors show a dedication to the craft. These groups mean your contractor is invested in continuing education and is acting as a member of the community that drives high-quality work standards. The ICRI (International Concrete Repair Institute) and ASA (American Shotcrete Association) are just two excellent industry associations to help filter in your contractor selection process.
Industry-specific certifications such as a NACE certification for industrial coating projects for example are a great way to verify experience and capabilities. NACE certifications held by the contractor mean they know what the inspectors are looking at after project completion. This knowledge helps to mitigate post-project issues that may arise with inspectors and it ensures your contractor is adhering to the highest quality standards. Crew training for first aid and safety also plays an important role in the process.
Professional Relationships that Impact Your Project
Experienced and highly qualified contractors have established relationships in the community. They partner with engineers, communicate with city planners, and have a reputation within those important circles. In some cases, the relationships are so strong that an engineer might call a contractor for advice before even putting a project up for bid.
Professional relationships go beyond the scope of credibility, they can help drive your project home. When plans need input from an engineer, your contractor should have the experience to dive in and communicate in a way that draws out solutions in a timely manner.
Is Your Commercial Restoration Contractor a Vendor or a Partner?
The distinction that makes a true partner is important. Vendors do the minimum needed to move along and collect a paycheck while partners go the extra mile and really care about your business and long-term success. True partners will:
- Meet strict timelines
- Stay within budget
- Communicate important details
- Warranty the work
True partners are present from the commercial restoration planning phase to the completed project and beyond (read this great example). Hitting deadlines and staying within budget are points of pride and the work is warrantied in a way that holds the contractor accountable.
Other pertinent details like product manufacturer specs are also delivered. For example, the manufacturer’s warranty and product life cycle estimates for a sealant should be communicated in the bid. Using cheap materials with little to no warranty decreases the value delivered to stakeholders and elevates the risk of failure.
Make sure your contractor is 100% transparent about the products used and the reasoning for selecting each product.
Finding a trustworthy contractor is not easy but it’s worth spending the extra time to check references and vet portfolios. When you do find a contractor that acts like a true partner, it will help drive successful commercial restoration projects for the foreseeable future.
McGill Restoration is your commercial restoration partner
At McGill Restoration, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality work from the best team of certified restoration professionals in the business. Get in touch with us to discuss your next commercial restoration project today.