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Choosing Your Builder 3- Resources for Customer Service

This post is part of a series of 6 listing 30 checks to consider when selecting a building contractor. 

Most small building contractors can deliver a domestic works or small commercial project without needing an office, support staff, or even a desk. However additional resources have a big impact on the employer’s experience and perception of the service they receive.  

Consider what level your contractor will deliver under each of these headings, and discuss with your architect how that will affect your experience of the construction process.

Contractor Service Levels- Pressure Points for Customer Experience 

Low- description of contractor services at lowest merchantable standard

Medium – description of services of typical competent contractor

High- services at unusually high level within norms of small scale construction

Quality of contractor schedule of rates (short price breakdown)

Low: short breakdown of work and price, not in recognised format, not suitable for pricing any variations. Absolute legal minimum for contract formation only.  Medium: 8-10 page schedule of rates prepared by quantity surveyor, suitable for fairly accurate pricing of variations.  High: 20-30 page document, nearly as detailed as a bill of quantities, monitored and maintained by contractor quantity surveyor. 

Standard of business communications

Low: very little written communication, difficult to schedule meetings, poor IT and presentation skills.  Medium: contractor has smartphone with email, good concise written communications returned quickly.    High: contractor has office or home office with additional assistance or staff. Normal office based business communications. 

In-house staff Quantity Surveyor

Low: contractor does not use a QS, and prepares own prices.  Medium: maintains relationship with quantity surveying practice with competitive rates for repeat work, including site inspections and preparation of formal payment claims.  High: employs in- house quantity surveyor, supplies regular updates and accounts for any variations.  

Office and administrative capability

Low: contractor does not have a working printer, only tangible admin is carried out in a “page a day” diary, communication is by mobile phone and text message.   Medium: has functioning home office and simple but effective record keeping.  High: normal standard of business communication, typical of other industries. 

Links to Study the Six Categories

  1. Essentials- intangible qualities of every professional builder
  2. Management of Time and Money
  3. Resources for Customer Service
  4. Resources for Getting the Job Done
  5. Achieving Quality
  6. Set-up and Accreditation

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