Choosing A Contractor

As discussed in a previous post, there are several delivery systems to choose from when deciding your approach to hiring / choosing a contractor. Depending on which method is chosen, factors will have different weights as you move forward. However, it will likely still come down to experience, capabilities, confidence, trust, and best value.

Business Man with Technology - Choosing a Contractor

Some basic background elements that you will always want to gather information on are:


A list of at least 3-5 comparable projects to yours. You can learn a lot about a company through their provided examples. For example, their capabilities, the level of work quality, the scope and size they can handle, etc. The contractors depth of experience here will indicate your ability to trust them to pro-actively solve problems for you as your project moves forward.


Company Personnel & Project Team.

A list of proposed personnel that will help execute your project; this should include the Project Executive, Project Manager, and Project Superintendent.



Primarily linked to experience and their proposed team. You can also ask for references from architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, and others to get an idea of how well they work with project teams as a whole.



Basic information regarding their financial stability. Average revenues over the past several years, Bonding Capacity, Bond rate, Insurance Certificate. Also ask for Bank & Bonding references you can contact.



Information regarding their safety record and practices. The best options are for either their MOD rates for the past several years or their OSHA records for the same period.



If using a negotiated system, schedule a time to interview the project team. It doesn’t have to be formal, just something that gives you time to ask questions that most concern you. This will help you gain confidence in the contractor that they will be good partners to work with for the long haul.


Depending on the Delivery System, the weight of these factors can vary…

With Design/Build; Experience, Team, and the Interview are probably the most important pieces, provided they qualify in the other areas as well. The key elements of services they will provide are managing and driving comprehensive budgeting and scheduling. If they lack experience with driving the preconstruction process, that could lead to issues down the road.

With CMR; Same factors apply, but another key factor that becomes important is their ability to work with your design team. Hiring the CM first, and consulting with them as you select a design team is one option to help ensure a good working relationship among all parties. Preconstruction abilities are again a key component.

With Select-List bidding; Experience is obviously a factor in identifying the limited list you’d like bids from. Beyond that, making sure they have the financial stability to execute is really the other paramount concern.

In Open/Public bids; Most of the factors mentioned above are negated, and low number only drives the decision. Confirming bonding capacity is likely the only qualification. This method can often lead to an adversarial relationship with all parties involved.


In summary, picking a building partner is a key element to the success of your project. Take your time and do your best to find the one you can trust to have the experience, capabilities, and team to deliver for you.


We’d love to hear your discussion on this topic. Comment below or reach out to our office online or via phone 913.962.5888.