Contractors are an essential constituent of project development as they see the physical construction of a project. Just as crucial is to choose the best contractor for the job. A “slip” (pun intended!) could cost the developer dearly. Once the building is completed to the mutual satisfaction of the contractor and developer, the estate agent, such as the Sittingbourne letting agents in South East England, take over the process to sell the property.
Building or renovating a property requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, preparation and organisation. The choice of the right contractor for the job lessens the burden on the developer. So how is the appropriate contractor chosen? Once the developer chooses the site and obtains the necessary permissions to go ahead with the project, practical issues such as building regulations, CAD designs, timeframe and costs need to be worked on.
Multiple bids: Tenders from at least 3 to 4 contractors should be obtained. They should be written and not verbal bids. The potential contractors need to be given a detailed physical walk-through of the requirements, whether new construction or renovation. To receive the most accurate bid, a complete list of requirements should be given by the developer. Comparison between the bids will help decide, along with other factors given below. If a bid is unusually high or low, the reason should be clarified.
Previous experience: A professional contractor will provide photos and references from prior projects. These should be checked and clarified. It is important to see the projects a specific contractor specialises in and elicit whether they are similar to what the developer requires. If it is a renovation, specific areas need to be looked into – is landscaping or dry scraping required? Is it for a concrete block house or a wood-frame building? Does the contractor have expertise in these areas?
Licensed and insured: A prerequisite is that the contractor is legally licensed and insured. Make sure that his credentials are shown during the interview. It is wise to also check with the local government authorities as to whether he meets all the licensing requirements. He should have proper insurance, which not only covers injury to the body not only of himself but his team members as well. The insurance should also include property damage as well. The developer should ensure that he is not held liable for any accidents or damage.
Response and communication: It may seem insignificant, but paying attention to the contractor’s communication style could help with the right choice. Does he prefer to give a written communication rather than a verbal one? Is he quick with his responses? If a face-to-face talk is preferred, ensure that the contractor can meet the developer at the site. The latter will then be able to judge whether he is an active or passive worker by the way he communicates. Project development can take time so it is important to vibe with his communication style.
Availability: A contractor who is in high demand is probably proof that he is efficient as well. However, his rate will most likely be high as well, and he may have to complete other projects before starting on the project. Alternatively, a contractor with more availability may bid at a lower price and be ready to start on the project immediately. He could be good at his job, too. References should be looked into. Depending on the time frame for the project, a choice will have to be made.
Interacting with the team: Whether it is a new build or rejuvenation, the contractor will have a team of professionals, including plumbers, electricians, flooring, HVAC, etc., whom the developer will also need to deal with. Ensure that the contractor advises on who he uses for the various subcontracts and also check on his management style. The quality and level of health and safety training of his employees should be checked out. Does he first do a background check on his team? How much time does he spend overseeing every aspect that each subcontractor is allotted?
Equipment to be used and maintenance: There is the saying, “If you think safety is expensive, try an accident!” One of the ways to avoid accidents, save lives and additional expenses is to ensure that the contractor is properly briefed and understands the hazard risks involved in the development activities. He should make sure that his equipment is ready and maintained properly, to handle the work required.
Conclusion: The role of contractors in the property development industry has been fittingly described by the multi-award-winning property trade magazine, “It is no overstatement to say that contractors play a huge role in the UK property market. Without them, the houses that people need and estate agents sell would simply not be built”. However, choosing the right contractor for the job is as important as their role in the industry.