Working with an outside contractor to apply paints and coatings can offer advantages, depending on the scope of the project and the department’s in-house capabilities. For most facilities, contractors offer staffing capabilities unavailable in-house. Unless a department regularly performs painting and coating applications, a well-equipped outside contractor with experience and state-of-the-art technology is likely to complete the project more efficiently.
Managers who use outside contractors need to take additional steps that will impact timing and scheduling. They will have to develop comprehensive specifications for the painting project, including the desired level of product quality.
As part of their bid packages, contractors must provide information on the materials they plan to use in order to demonstrate to managers that the materials meet the quality requirements. Even after selecting a particular contractor, managers must verify that the actual materials being used comply.
Contractors should be qualified before bidding if possible. Each pre-qualified contractor must be able to show proof of licensing and insurance. Additional information should include years in business and a list of comparable jobs recently completed. Simply getting this information is not sufficient, however. Managers must do their homework and check the contractor’s track record.
Once a manager selects a contractor, it is important to monitor performance. Is the contractor using the proper products? Has the contractor taken proper precautions to protect areas and equipment? Is the project on schedule?
Managers also need to conduct a thorough walk-through of the completed project to verify work quality and completeness. Contractors must correct all deficiencies before managers sign off on the contract.
Paint and coating applications might seem simple on the surface. But with careful planning and scheduling, managers can ease their way through the process while providing a finished project that meets the expectations of building occupants and managers.
James Piper, P.E., is an national consultant based in Bowie, Md. He has more than 30 years of experience with facilities management, maintenance and engineering issues.
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