4 Things to Look For in Your Industrial Construction Partner

4 Things to Look For in Your Industrial Construction Partner

4 Things to Look For in Your Industrial Construction Partner

Up until the Great Recession, owner involvement and construction expertise was trending upward. Fast-forward to the post-2010 economy, and we find the opposite is true. External partners are increasingly relied upon to steward resources and manage risk as construction projects become more complex. As you can imagine, not all construction firms are created equal. Selecting the right partner for your project is a crucial front-end decision. Following are some critical items to consider when selecting the right construction partner for an industrial project.

First, industrial projects can be incredibly complicated and even the ‘simple’ ones have distinctive features.

You’ve likely recognized that a construction partner specializing in your project type can add significant value to the end product. Relevant experience is supremely important at both the individual and company level because each project type has its own unique requirements and issues. Your contractor needs to be familiar with the nuances of the project type to effectively respond to these complications, let alone add value. A seasoned project manager will have encountered comparable challenges on his previous projects, and your project will benefit from their lessons learned.

Second, it almost goes without saying that your construction partner must demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to safety.

Beyond the humanistic reasons to value safety, a safe construction site is an efficient construction site, and is the first line of defense in maintaining a facility’s own safety culture. A contractor’s safety program and record has a direct impact on the bottom line when insurance costs are considered. There’s also the factor of property damage, or delays caused by safety incidents that can impact schedule, and increase cost. For a safety program to be effective, it must be systemic. Safety awareness should permeate your contractor’s culture. Be wary of those firms whose management and field staff are unable to adequately describe a comprehensive safety program.

Third, quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution.
A formalized quality program indicates that the contractor understands their role in your business’s success: to deliver a reliable facility that can produce a return on the construction investment. An effective quality program reduces risk to both the client and contractor by assuring that appropriate materials are specified and procured, and installed correctly the first time. Elements that are essential to the program include constructability planning, project specific quality plans, subcontractor qualification, inspection and testing protocols, compliance audits, and a workforce that is empowered to solve quality issues at the field level. Similar to safety, ensuring quality requires the entire team.

Finally, a firm’s reputation for treating their people fairly can be a powerful sign that you can trust them to deliver on their promises.
It’s proven that highly satisfied employees perform better work. They make fewer mistakes and they are more productive. A company with a focus on driving an intentional culture has better access to manpower when your project ramps up, and their training programs have produced a workforce that can safely deliver a high quality result to meet your budget and schedule parameters.

Uncovering these characteristics will require legwork beyond your initial research. Advance investigation and a Request for Qualification process can narrow the field: you can review their portfolio, evaluate their safety record, and read about their quality assurance procedures. Culture can be tricky to measure, which is why we recommend in-person interviews before final selection. When you witness their passion and team dynamic, the choice becomes much clearer.

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