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Contractor Selection Methods

Posted Friday, April 1st, 2011

Today, let’s talk about contractor selection methods for your private project. There are two prevalent methods: invited bidders and negotiated selection.

Under the invited bidders option, you allow the design process to approach completion and then establish a list of contractors that you wish to invite to bid. Ask your architect for assistance with this list, basing selections on reputation and experience relative to your project. After a bidding period of three to four weeks, they will return sealed competitive bids. The assumption of the bidders (and our strong suggestion) is that the contractor returning the lowest price will get the work, unless there are unusual circumstances. Each bidder puts a large amount of effort and money into a competitive bid.

If you select the negotiated route, you will establish a list as noted above and bring each contractor in for interviews, much like you may have to select an architect. Rank each in order of preference and ask the top three or four to return a fee and services proposal based on the scope of your project. Then select the contractor that you feel is best for your project. They can then be made a member of the team and begin to provide input on cost, schedule and materials selection. They can also pre-order materials with long lead times and even begin the grading and site work in advance of the plan completion. We find that you are not paying a premium using this method, given that most general contract work is 95% sub-contracted to other firms. Projects completed under this method are very successful, particularly from a cost control perspective.

As with most project decisions, talk to your architect early about the contracting method to be used allowing you to gain the most benefit from your decision.

 

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