A to Z challenge – E – April 2021

ngaging the contractor is a key part of any building project. This is usually managed by an architect or building surveyor acting as project manager. The first task is to identify contractors. Normally the best way to do this is by word of mouth where effective contractors are either already known to the project manager or someone within the project has either worked with them or seen them at work. A list can then be drawn up of at least three firms but before this is finalised, the financial viability of lesser known contractors should be checked since a seemingly competitive price later could lead to the appointment of an unviable and unreliable party with disastrous consequences. It should be said that at the moment clients should not be surprised that finding three viable contractors can prove to be a genuine challenge.

Once the tender prices are in, the project manager will check these with the contractors so that they can be presented to the client in a format that compares one with the other easily. In addition to price, there will be equally important considerations such as good working relationships, a shared vision, safe working practices and perhaps most important of all, availability. The best contractors with an excellent reputation may not have immediate availability. There can be hard decisions at the point of engagement including whether to wait for the preferred contractor, which has a further risk that the tender price might rise with a few months delay, or move forward more quickly with another. Prayer, careful planning and co-operation will be key to moving forward with the engagement.

Marius and Beno of Coste & Beno – contractors for the Kingsbury building project