A fond Hello to readers of "SEEING RED" (RED MC-1) HOW TO SELECT A
CONTRACTOR, ERECTOR AND MANUFACTURER? This seems to be a popular
question and one which I delight in giving my "expert" opinion thereon.
Keep in mind that 42 years in the dynamic field of Pre-Engineered Steel
Structures will probably taint my reply with some bias.
The "coming of age" of the Pre-Engineered Steel Structures has given
thousands of good, knowlegeable, General Contractors the ability to
become DESIGN--BUILD experts with major SINGLE SOURCE responsibility. To
me, that is a giant advantage for the Builder and his client. The
Builder associates him/her self with their architect/engineer friends
who work as a team to assure the client the utmost value for his/her
investment. The contractor I would pick would be one with 5 years
minimum, preferably 10 years of local experience and projects to view
and discuss with the owner and/or tenants. An exception to the criteria
would be a Key man who had been in charge of multiple projects for the
long experienced contractor and had opened up his own Construction Co.
at least two years prior. Why? Sometimes they are more competitive with
lower overhead and often supervise their own projects rather than having
a qualified superintendent on the payroll which is not possible with a
more established firm having multiple projects going on at the same
Client needs to assure himself that competent supervision would be on
his job from start to finish at least 3 to 4 hours ea. day during the
time sub-contractors and tradesmen are working.
The design--build team gives the Client a personal and ongoing "insider"
responsibility in preliminary layout plans, budget and schedules with
the only cost liability being the preliminary plan. The contractor's
services to that point are "free" as part of their sales costs.
With a firm budget (plus or minus 10 percent) pending final plans and
engineering, the client can now perceive the whole picture and economics
and has developed a close and friendly relationship with the Contractor
which generates mutual trust.
At that point, Client should not be concerned with who is the supplier
of the structure and the erection thereof. He cannot second guess the
knowledge of the Contractor who is now solely responsible for the
finished product. He should also be privy to Contractors "hoped for"
gross profit and overhead markup which normally range from 12 to 22 per
cent depending on job size and complexity.
The above method of mutual cooperation in arriving at a negotiated
contract is the one my company followed almost exclusively for 40 years.
Yes, we did bid on some by invitation and built several military and
municipal facilities but found that successful low bidders are often in
conflict with outside inspectors, the Architect and owners over
interpretations of plans, specs, intent, etc., - seldom a friendly
We continue to believe that the Design - Build, single source
responsibility results in the lowest VALUE cost because it enlists the
full practical knowledge of the Contractor over years of experience and
his Architects and Engineer Associates into a team with a personal
interest in giving the client the most value for his Money!