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Choosing Your Builder 5- Achieving Quality

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

Quality is largely influenced by the design, budget and the content and structure of the contract documents. The abilities and resources of the main contractor have an obvious role in translating the potential of the project into a complete building.     

Consider what level your contractor will deliver under each of these headings, and consider 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

Ability to integrate specialist work or elements

Low: contractor has limited range of skills and approaches to construction tasks and finds it difficult to create bespoke elements.  Medium: has access to a range of regular subcontractors, with good skills for routine specialist tasks.  High: can make anything from a good set of drawings. 

Willingness to facilitate specialist work or elements

Low: resists any deviation from lowest common denominator construction techniques.  Medium: will facilitate specialists and undertake more detailed work, subject to proper payment.  High: embraces quality and is enthusiastic about any increase in standards or additional challenging tasks. 

In- house staff engineering

Low: structural knowledge comes from contractor’s general experience or trade based training.  Medium: contractor has regular working arrangement with engineering practice or employs suppliers and subcontractors with design competence.  High: contractor or their staff have formal technical qualifications in a relevant discipline. 

Site supervision and day to day management of works

Low: tradesmen and laborers left unsupervised for majority of time. Main contractor makes periodic visits to check work and issue instructions.  Medium: contractor or responsible employee onsite whenever site is active.  High: dedicated site manager for the project, with good resources and access to broader contractor organisation when required. 

Core construction knowledge of main contractor or site manager

Low: based on experience of building sites and limited training. Limited access to information on new materials and techniques.  Medium: based on experience, may have limited formal training but keeps up to date with new products and services. Avails of training offered by suppliers, solicits detailed explanations and technical information from the design team. Reads product literature and suggests good alternatives when required.  High: Has formal training in a construction discipline, has great fluency with drawings and technical information approximately equal to an experienced architectural technician. 

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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