Finding and Working with Contractors

Published April 29, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

contractorConstructing a metal building doesn’t require a contractor but the experience and expertise of a good contractor goes a long way in preventing critical (and costly) building errors. A contractor can help with every part of the project from site preparation to electrical and plumbing while providing project management when needed.

Finding a Contractor

According to the Federal Trade Commission there are various types of contractors:

  • General Contractor - Manages all aspects of a project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections
  • Specialty Contractor - Installs particular products like cabinets and bathroom fixtures
  • Architect - designs homes, additions, and major renovations — especially ones involving structural changes
  • Designer or Design/Build Contractor - provides both services

It will depend on the specifications of your project which will be right for your purposes. Speak to friends and colleagues who have recently had need of a contractor to get advice and recommendations.

You may also want to check with various rating agencies, such as Angie’s List; more contractors and other service providers are being added every day. Before your hire, however, you will want to check the contractor’s licensure, number of years in business, and the type of projects previously completed. If the contractor is reluctant to offer references or examples of previous work it may indicate a history of poor workmanship or the contractor may have just started his business.

Once you have found a contractor you will need further information about the company’s insurance coverage to whether your project requires permitting. Also determine if subcontractors will be used; on a very large project this is more likely.

Hiring a Contractor

Once you have selected a contractor you need to work from a written contract spelling out all the details about the contractor, the project, payment, and scheduling. It should also include a list of materials and how change orders will be handled. There should be a stipulation of your right to cancel within a set period of time will offer some protection if the contract was signed outside of the contractor’s place of business.

Once the contractor is hired keep proper records. There is an old saying: if it isn’t written down it didn’t happen. Keep copies of all contracts, change orders, correspondence and a record of all payments including receipts for tax purposes.

Working with Your Contractor

Be prepared to meet periodically with your contractor to make sure all is going to plan and the project is shaping up as you expected. Your contractor should let you know as soon as possible of any problems:

  • Permitting issues
  • Change orders
  • Site prep or foundation problems
  • When the project is off schedule

You will probably field more decisions that you expected, be sure to get as much information as possible to guide you without slowing the work down too much. A good contractor can make suggestions for improvements to the plans or for substitutions if needed.

There are a lot of moving parts to metal building construction. A contractor with the right experience and background can help you keep on track, particularly in complex building situations. Select a contractor who can explain things understandably and who can provide options when dealing with problems.

This is a working relationship that may go on for some time. Choose someone you can work with who has the expertise you need and a personality you can work with.

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