Companies spend a lot to purchase fire protection systems, but if these are not properly installed and maintained, their investment can easily go down the drain. The question is, how do you choose the right contractor for the project?
Whether a fire protection contractor is one or ten years old, each company has a unique background. Be as thorough as possible when checking. Do they have OHSA or EPA citations, or any outstanding claims or judgments within the past five years? This kind of information can be crucial as you decide to go or not to go with a particular contractor.
Interviewing a Prospective Contractor
Before deciding on a certain fire protection contractor, know the following:
> Number of qualified engineers and OHSA 10-hour certified workers on their team
> How many NICET-certified technicians and the specific areas they specialize in
> Whether they usually come in or under budget
> Length of experience in the industry
> Frequency of training or seminars provided to workers
> Whether they are insured as well as bonded
> Whether your project will be assigned a dedicated job manager
On top of the technical background of a company, its “people background,” also known as its reputation, is equally crucial. Ask your prospect to give you a list of references and businesses that have hired them previously. Go over online reviews too, but to make sure you’re reading credible testimonials, stay with trusted consumer sites like Yelp or Angie’s list. Look for details. What specific issues or complaints were there, if any? Just remember that all contractors have good and bad things said about them. What you want is to get the overall vibe.
Familiarity with the Team
Installing a fire protection system is a huge undertaking that can take up to months or years to complete. That means you will be working with your contractor and the entire team for quite a while. In other words, you have to be familiar with them, especially the people you should approach when issues or problems come to fore. You need to know the personnel who will be able to help you in various situation, such as a piece of equipment going missing or an employee who is not working as expected.
Lastly, another thing you should consider when choosing a contractor is whether you get along. Again, you will be spending quite some time with these people, and you don’t want that feeling of being stuck when you realize midway through the project that they are very unprofessional or arrogant. It should be a business relationship that you are positive will flourish.