You have a prefab metal building to erect and you need some help. Fittingly, you’ve decided to hire an erector. But which one?
Truth is, who you choose to erect your building can make your life easy or very, very difficult. You must ensure that your erector is qualified, licensed and comes with a solid “A” rating from past clients.
If you’ve decided to hire an erector for your prefab metal building, there are a few things you need to know before you make your final selection.
- Ask (a Lot) of Questions
When in doubt ask more questions, not less. A great erector won’t mind and may even thank you for being so thorough. If they’re worth their salt they’ll be able to answer your questions without hesitation – or get you the answers you need ASAP.
Ask for references and about past projects. Solid erectors should be able to get you a list of former jobs along with contact information. Be diligent and follow up on the references you’re given. Take a comprehensive look at the erector’s past work. Similar jobs as well as drastically different projects will give you a good idea of the erector’s work.
When you talk to former clients, ask about the erector’s error rate and whether or not the work done exceeded expectations. How is the building holding up? Would they hire the erector again? What were they like to work with? Gather all the information you can. Better too much than too little.
If you find a former client who was less than satisfied with the erector’s work, speak with the erector about it. You’ll learn a lot about them based on how they respond.
If your own experience with metal building erection isn’t enough, think about hiring a qualified metal building consultant to help you with these tasks, especially if this is a more complex project than you have handled before.
Here are some other questions to consider:
- What is the size of the framing crew?
- How experienced are they?
- Does the erector consider PEMB assembly their specialty?
- Have they worked with the metal building company you’re using before?
- What is the estimated time of completion and how many jobs are they working on in conjunction with your project?
- Will the erector be present at the site while construction is going on?
- What equipment will they supply?
- Will the contractor subcontract any portion or the job?
Have your list of questions ready when you meet or speak with the contractor and don’t be afraid to follow up with more if you think of them.
- Verify Their Documentation
Do not hire an erector who does not have a valid license and certification. An easy phone call or internet search should provide you with the answer. Beyond these important documents, you also want to check on the training level of the crew the erector will use. They should have proper safety training in addition to the appropriate training for the job itself.
They should also be able to provide you with a copy of their OSHA approved safety program for you to look over. Ask your erector if they consistently hold safety meeting while on the jobsite – these are required by OSHA. If the erector waffles on any documents or regulations required by OSHA do not work with them.
Don’t take anything the erector says at face value. Accept their information and do your own research to validate what they told you and to see if there are any red flags not immediately apparent.
- Find Multiple Bids
Don’t go with the first erector you meet with. Compile an extensive list of options and narrow them down slowly. Explain in detail what your project is and what it will require to each erector you reach out to.
In order for the erector to give you an accurate bid, present them with this information when you contact them:
- Size of the building
- How many doors and windows
- What you want for the exterior finishing materials
- Specifics for the features you desire such as skylights, gutters, insulation, roof, solar power, etc.
- What’s contained in the kit you are using and where it’s from
As you continue to gather information about the erectors themselves as well as their bids it’ll become clear who you need to choose.
- Beware “Too Good to Be True”
The “Low-Ball Bid” is not the best bid, even if the dollar figure is tempting. Investigate why the erector is offering such a seductive price – quite often it’s a red flag signaling that something isn’t quite right.
You may find that they are markedly less experienced than the other erectors on the table. It may also be that they are using a low bid to try to get you to refrain from researching too deeply into their job history. Always check references.
If you are still interested in the erector offering you a low bid, be willing to dig deeper to find out what might be behind the number before signing any contracts. The last thing you want is to choose a “too good to be true” offer and find out later that it was a bad decision.
- Maintain Proper Supervision and Conduct Inspections
Even after you’ve selected a contractor, you still need to make sure that they’re delivering on the work promised. This is your project. The erector works for you. Therefore, you never need to hesitate when instilling supervision or executing proper inspections of the work.
Inspections are part of the program and should never be objected to – it’s a red flag If your erector stands in the way of any inspections of the work being done.
If you like, hire a superintendent as an extra set of eyes. Have them look over the erection instructions and drawings. The superintendent should be able to see if there is an issue and speak up immediately. A small error now could mean a big issue down the road.
Your building can only be as solid as the ones who built it. If someone seems like bad news they probably are. Choose an erector with integrity, a fantastic work ethic and who truly loves what they do. Trust your gut, make the best choice you can and get that new project up and running.