Who is a good construction contractor?
1. A building construction contractor dealing with matters of architecture and design should have a minimum of three to five years experience. This is specially important in case of partnership firms and companies. A new general contractor may be considered for smaller works only.
Managing of a construction contract requires special know-how and experience and knowledge of What an architect actually does? and the know how to deal with it.
Just a highly qualified engineer may not be suited for actual execution.
Also Read: What are the Different types of Contractors
2. Either the contractor or at least one of his staff should be technically qualified.
3. Preferably, the construction contractor should have previous experience in construction of buildings similar to the one for which tenders have been invited. This point is specifically relevant for specialised buildings like hospitals, theatres, etc.
A building construction contractor doing work only in major towns, has little idea about the difficulties involved in construction work located in mofussil or rural areas and vice-versa.
4. The contractor should have recently carried out at least one single work, the cost of which is at least half of the estimated cost of the project in hand.
A local contractor doing smaller jobs has little idea about the complexities and management techniques involved in execution of large works.
5. The contractor should have the tools and plants necessary for construction of the building. For any significant work, he should have his own concrete mixer, plywood or steel shuttering, etc.
For larger and taller buildings, the contractor should have tubular scaffolding (which is stronger and safer), equipment for de-watering, welding, etc., and preferably his own trucks, stone crusher, a small portable laboratory for testing concrete, etc.
He must have any specialised equipment like concrete hoist, crane, guniting gun, etc., for the work.
6. Above all, the contractor and, in case a company, its principals must have a mind to do good work. He should be known for fair and honest dealings and his ability to maintain cordial relations with the employers.
7. Certain contractors, registered classwise with the state or central government, are qualified for undertaking works costing up to certain limits only. This data can be studied before hiring the contractor.
How to ensure whether the contractor is good enough or not?
In choosing the right contractor, one should visit a few works executed by him, preferably without his knowledge. It is better that one visits works executed a year or two back, rather than works in progress or recently completed.
The quality of any building is put to test as years pass by. It is also a good idea to interview occupants of the building and the owner of the building, in order to find out about the quality of the contractor’s work, the time taken by him to complete the project, general dealings, etc.
A perfect contractor is rare to come across, however, one can definitely get a good contractor, if one selects a contractor on the basis of these guidelines. Brief knowledge about different types of contractors available in market is a must.
The final decision should be taken as early as possible, so that the contractor selected may not take up additional works somewhere else, and the rejected contractors are free to look for works elsewhere.
Finally, although it is natural to go in for the lowest tender, one should not compromise on capability and quality for the sake of cost.