Matching the Best Products with the Best Installers

Architects, engineers, designers and owners strive to obtain the highest value for all of the components specified for their facility. The value equation will vary depending upon the design goals, from highest quality to least expensive. Product specification is driven by performance first and foremost, price and aesthetics are secondary. If a product does not meet the needs of the application, it is not worth the cost at any price. In order to obtain the highest value Specifiers, Construction Managers and Product manufacturers must match the products with the specialty contractors certified to install them.

Role of the Specifier
The specifiers work closely with manufacturers to identify the right products to meet the demands of the application. During this process, if the performance of the product is dependent upon successful installation, the specifier should only select those products where a certified installer will be available for this project. The product manufacturers can assist in identifying those contractors which have been trained and have the experience necessary to accomplish the project of equal scope. The Specification should require that the installing contractor be a current Certified Contractor for the specific manufacturer.

Role of the General Contractor/Construction Management
When a specification has been completed, the General Contractors or Construction Managers will solicit bids from specialty contractors for the products identified in the plans. It is at this point when cost savings and value engineering has the greatest risk of creating problems during or after the installation.

All bids, whether for government projects or private sector, should endeavor to obtain the lowest responsible bid. This means that the bidder has the requisite skill, judgment, and integrity necessary to perform the contract involved and has the financial resources and ability to carry out the task to completion. The specialty contractor must provide documentation from the product manufacturer that confirms that the company is Certified to install these products and for the scope of the project.

Role of the Manufacturer
All manufacturers whose products are “completed” in the field must be responsible for training the installer about their products. This training must be directed to the individual or crews that will be on the job site, not just the president of the company. After the product training, the manufacturer must monitor the installations conducted by the contractor. Product knowledge does not equate to installation competence. The manufacturer should maintain records as to which products and what scale the contractor has experience.

The Role of the Specialty Contractor
The specialty contractors will identify the products, market sectors and geographic reach of their business. They must provide references to the manufacturer to help them maintain an accurate assessment of the skill level and coverage of the business.

Take Home Message
Matching the installing contractor with the specified product will minimize problems, scheduling delays and “No Bid” situations. Working as a team, the specifier, product manufacturer, general contractor and specialty contractor will provide the building owner with the best product, successful installation and highest value possible.