10A — September 26 - October 9, 2014 — Fall Preview — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal

C ommercial C ontracting By Keith A. Brubacher, Brubacher Excavating, Inc. 10 critical questions to ask your contractor


he first question of- ten asked when se- lecting a contractor is

To help determine the con- tractor who will best position your project for success with- out surprises, ask these 10 critical questions. 1) How is your commitment to safety evidenced in your planning process and in daily work? Reputable contractors begin planning for safety at the very first pre-bid meeting. They ask insightful questions and are alert to surrounding factors that could affect the safety of their crews. Their daily actions demonstrate preparation to address these hazards.

their conduct and skill level? The men and women on the job should operate within the values of the company leaders, performing work in a way that reflects positively on the proj- ect owner and the company. There are big differences in the workmanship of team mem- bers who truly care about their work and those whose actions say “We’re just here to collect a paycheck...you can’t see how it looks from my house.” 5) What are your relation- ships like with municipal and regulatory authorities? Construction projects require

careful coordination between design and inspecting engi- neers, municipalities and reg- ulatory agencies. Since timely, on-budget completion depends on working well with third- parties whose interests may not be aligned, the project’s success can largely depend on personal interaction. Ignoring this can result in delays and increased costs. 6) Do you have the right amount of productive, reliable equipment available for the project? During the recession, many contractors ignored the ownership cost of their equip- ment when bidding projects. These contractors may have won a lot of cheap work that wore out equipment. Now they are in a poor position to keep it upgraded and reliable for today’s project demands. 7) Does your company have the team in place to proactive- ly manage the increased work- load of new projects? Many an owner has been unpleasantly surprised by delays after the contract is signed and crews gradually show up as they fin- ish other projects. 8) How will you ensure the project is completed on sched- ule? Describe the processes and people who will drive and communicate the project schedule. Delays can torpedo any project’s success by driving up the cost of services required to finish on time and deferring revenue for the project owner. 9) In your review of the con- struction plans, what opportu- nities have you discovered that may provide greater value or reduce cost? 10) What are the anticipated cost and schedule impacts if we encounter the items listed in your exclusions or alternate pricing? Contractors who are genuinely committed to your success will have already developed a plan for minimiz- ing these impacts during the proposal process. Solid answers that are veri- fied by references will help you select a contractor that reduces stress and manages risk on your next project. Keith Brubacher is presi- dent of Brubacher Excavat- ing, Inc. Brubacher serves the site, utility and energy construction markets with an uncommonly refreshing approach to people, projects andsolutions.Theirmissionis toshareinsight, reducestress andmanage risk for clients. n

2) What are your company’s results and experience on simi- lar projects? Many contractors attempt projects larger than they can successfully complete. Others are still trading on hallmark projects completed years ago before they elimi- nated key support resources in order to reduce costs. 3) What is your response time to questions and con- cerns? Timely communication helps to head off problems while they are small and easier to solve. 4) How does your team dem- onstrate professionalism in

“How much can you drop your price?” It is a dan- gerous ques- t i on when the answer is considered in a vacuum. Anyone can

Keith Brubacher

lower their price, yet the real questions remain: “At what cost to the success of my proj- ect?” and “What am I getting less of than before?”

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