Choosing the Right Contractor – It’s a Matter of Success or Failure

Your project has gone through a comprehensive planning and design process to ensure that the project design objectives and goals are fully captured in the documents. You are ready to start work. Now what?

The successful implementation of your project requires one more, extremely important step, selecting the right construction partner. How can you do this? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Unless you are required by law to allow public bidding, consider pre-selecting and pre-approving the potential bidders. There are several ways to evaluate a contractor’s experience and capacity to successfully complete a project. They include both quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Require prospective contractors to provide references of similar project work in the pre-approval process, and check-the references! However, do not rely exclusively on a contractor’s list. An on-line search will often reveal unstated issues that a contractor will never provide. A phone call to one of your industry peers may be helpful too.
  • Ask perspective contractors to identify the project superintendent that will be assigned to the project and request his/her specific project experience.
  • Accept bids that are clear, concise, and responsive – and reject bids that are not. Beware of bids with qualifying language, re-statement of the requirements (that may omit portions of the work) or provide complicated options that will “save money” by accepting the bid.
  • Consider descope meetings with the apparent low bidder or bidders to ensure they have a complete understanding of the project requirements and constraints. During the descope meeting you can discuss the project requirements in detail, the schedule, any unusual conditions, and provide the contractor with an opportunity to ask questions. Everyone makes mistakes, and you both will be glad you learned about it sooner rather than later.

With a solid design that meets your goals, your project can be a success with the right contractor on the team. If you need assistance selecting the right contractor for your project, do not hesitate to contact George Thompson, CCM at (717) 845-7654 or