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Best Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors

The question-and-answer sessions maintenance and engineering managers should hold with potential contractors during the pre-bid process helps vet candidates.

One important step to take with potential contractors is to prequalify each bidder, says Don Turner, Okaloosa (Fla.) County's facilities maintenance director. Among the concerns Turner says managers can consider when speaking with contractors are these:

  • "How many employees are on the payroll, and (what is) their role in the firm?"
  • "Have they sub-contracted out any of their work? I prefer to work directly with the installer."
  • "I would ask for a resume for each of their key personnel and system installers that would be assigned to the project. Just because a firm has been in business 20 years, their staff turnover may be very high, and most of their field installers may be fairly new to the firm or new to roofing."
  • "Do they have letters of good standing with material suppliers?"
  • "Can they provide a financial responsibility letter from their financial institution?"

Lower bids did influence the county's thoughts on hiring a contractor, but other factors also figured into the decision.

"Contractors had to pass the competency test," Turner says. "They had to submit evidence that they had recent experience with installing the type of roof systems called for on the roofing bid. In addition to submitting the lowest responsive bid for the project, the contractors had to provide complete and competitive unit prices for the components for quantities that may or may not be known at the time the roof project opens for bids."

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