How to Investigate for a Building Contractor

Investigate building contractor

How to Investigate for a Building Contractor

Preamble

The first step in the building contractor hiring process is research and investigation. It involves your identification of the different potential building contractors offering their services in your area. Then you need to establish the type and quality of services offered by each of them as well as determine their fidelity level (how trustworthy they are). After this you can then shortlist about two or three contractors, based on your predetermined selection criteria, that you will eventually invite for the next stage of the building contractor selection process.

Determine Your Selection Criteria

Selection criteriaTalking about the predetermined selection criteria, even before you start investigation it would be wise to first determine the things that are most important to you. What outcomes are you expecting from the building construction process? What services are you expecting to receive from your contractor? What level of project quality are you looking forward to? What project price range can you afford? Answers to these and other questions would help you determine the nature of what constitutes value to you.

For instance, an eight to five worker may most probably prefer a contractor who will take care of the entire building construction process. But this may also come at a higher price than she might be able to afford, hence the need for a trade off (choosing between competing alternatives) to determine the services she actually needs. This trade off between competing value items would eventually lead to the establisment of the selection criteria that would increase her chance of selecting the right building contractor.

Identify Building Contractors in Your Area

Identify building contractorIn order to identify the building contractors who may be operating in your area, you’ll need to consult the following resources.

  • Family and friends.
  • Colleagues at work.
  • Ongoing construction sites.
  • Professional magazines.
  • The internet

Note that as you build your building contractor list, you should not be tempted to eliminate any contractor from the list at this stage. By doing so you may inadvertently eliminate a potentially competent contractor without thorough analysis.

Establish Building Contractor Capacity and Integrity

Integrity The success or failure of your building construction project would to a large extent be determined by the capacity and integrity of the building contractor. A contractor who values integrity and had successfully executed your type of project in the past would most likely successfully execute yours. On the other hand, a contractor who lacks both the skill set and professionalism required for project success would not only bungle yours, he will definely increase the associated stress. Hence you need to meticulously ascertain the true state of the different contractors in order to enable you select about two or three that would eventually move on to the negotiation stage. You can follow these steps to achieve it.

  • Check up with their previous clients to determine their level of professionalism.
  • Interview people in the neighbourhoods where their previous projects where executed to determine their organisational culture (the behaviour of the employees). The organizational culture of companies can either enhance or retard their project delivery capabilities.
  • Google the company names to see whether anything positive or negative may crop up to help your investigation. For instance you might discover that a particular contractor is involved in a litigation involving shoddy work through such searches.
  • Google for verifiable company testimonials and interview those that gave the testimonials.
  • Weed out contractors who, from your findings, might not be able to offer you the value you are looking for.

Remember that your selection criteria will determine the information you would be looking for and consequently the questions you’ll ask your respondents.

Watch out next week for page 3 ‘How to Negotiate with Your Building Contractor

Thank you for reading this article. We’ll appreciate if you can drop your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below. This will help us bring greater articles to you in future.

 

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Engr. Okoye is a registered Civil engineer with interests in Engineering, Project and construction management as well as general management. He is currently the Managing Director of Conifer Konstruktion (Nig) Ltd, a Building construction/project management company located in Awka, South Eastern Nigeria.