Hiring Contractors, Subcontractors and Vendors

Finding a contractor who is capable of handling the complexities of your project may be as easy as consulting your local yellow pages under the heading of General Contractors. This method can prove to be hit-or-miss depending on the size of the city or town and the number of general contractors in the area.

The best way of finding a contractor is to talk with the owners of other projects similar to yours. A contractor who mainly does additions on homes may have the skills to complete the renovation of your project, but may not have the manpower or commercial sub-contractor network base to handle the project.

Similarly, a large general contractor who builds office buildings and other large structures may not be interested in handling a small project such as the renovation of a PraiseBuilding. In larger cities, there may be larger general contractor firms that regularly build and renovate PraiseBuildings. If such contractors exist near the metropolitan area of the PraiseBuilding, it is worth inviting them to bid on the PraiseBuilding project since they may bring vast experience and an understanding of working with tight budgets and building committees. 

Check references. While there are many professional and honest contractors, there are many fly-by-night organizations who would be happy to take the money and run. 
Although many people rely on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for references, it is important to realize that the BBB is not a government agency.

It is a for-profit business which can only report on the business activities of its own members. In order for a company to be listed with the Better Business Bureau, that company had to purchase a membership. Since most states require contractors to be licensed by the state before contracting with the public, it is prudent to verify licensure and any legal or disciplinary action with the state licensing authority. 

If the congregation will be undertaking a PraiseBuilding project costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, it may be prudent to require that the general contractor post a performance and payroll bond. A bond is an insurance policy that protects the owner in case the contractor is unable or unwilling to complete the project or pay his employees or subcontractors. The requirements to secure bonding are strenuous and thus smaller contractors are unable or unwilling to post a bond. Since the building’s owner pays for the costs of the bond, it should only be used on larger projects. However, bonding a project can add a layer of protection to the owner should problems occur.

Before hiring a contractor for any project, it is important that the contractor present a certificate of insurance for general liability, automobile insurance and worker’s compensation insurance, naming the PraiseBuilding as additional insured. 

Understanding a Construction Progress Schedule

Before a professional progress manager will begin a major construction project, one of the first steps to be undertaken is the creation of a Construction Progress Schedule. The importance of establishing a progress schedule can be seen in the saved hours of labor, reduction of construction conflicts by overlapping trades, and avoidance of delays in the delivery of long lead items.

How does one establish a progress schedule? The first step is to make a list of every trade (sub-contractor and vendor) and when they are scheduled to begin their work. Next, record the scope of work to be completed, as well as the number of days the work will take to be completed. It is important to note two points. First, if one sub-contractor must complete a specific task or line item before another trade can begin their work, the first contractor must be scheduled with ample time to complete their task.

Secondly, if an item such as specialty windows, pews or custom seating, custom dyed carpeting, artwork or other items scheduled to take many weeks or months for fabrication and delivery, these items should be ordered as far in advanced possible. Before signing a contract with vendors of stained glass, pulpit or bimah furnishings, custom seating or pews, it is very important to discuss delivery dates from the date of a signed contract.

Many pew companies may require 9-12 weeks for delivery from the date of a signed contract and approval of finishes and fabric samples. It is also not uncommon to wait six months or longer for custom-made art or stained glass windows.When creating a progress schedule, allow ample time to complete the assigned tasks. Remember that trades that are required to work outdoors, may require longer time due to weather conditions, especially during the autumn and winter months.

When scheduling a multi-month project, it is wise to allow a few floating days to allow for non-productive periods due to weather, delays in receipt of materials, illness, inspection delays, etc. The construction schedule on the following pages shows a typical multi-trade construction project. 

The purpose of a construction schedule is to see on paper that all of the trades have ample time to complete their sub-contracts with a minimum of conflict. If a construction progress schedule is completed properly, one should be able to see how long it will take to complete the entire project, and what trades should be completing what tasks at any given time in the project.

A progress schedule can allow one to tell instantly if a PraiseBuilding project is on schedule. Thus, a progress schedule can become an important part of the check and balance system of managing the project.

By Stephen Ferrandi, Director, KLNB Regious Properties

Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religious clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.