There are two different types of roles a Tulsa Commercial Contractor or a contractor can take. The first type of role a commercial contractor in the Tulsa area or a Tulsa Commercial Contractor can have is a general contractor. The second role a contractor can is a general contractor. All projects are cost sensitive, but in cases where there are projects that can be done with a finite amount of money and have definite priorities a construction manager can be beneficial.

The town of Kiefer passed a bond issue and several projects that could be completed and sought to find a Tulsa Commercial Contractor to be a General Contractor. Of the Tulsa Commercial Contractors who bid on the project Williams Contracting was awarded the bid. The town of Gore had projects to be completed but wanted to hire a construction manager to help with the budget concerns of the project. I want to compare the two projects and the two roles that a contractor can fill, in regard to a general contractor or construction manager.

In the Kiefer project, like all general contractor bids, the project was solicitated or advertised in project rooms and local papers. The local papers are the standard ways in which projects are advertised, so in the Tulsa area, a Tulsa Commercial Contractor is going to know about the solicitation. A public project has to have the solicitation issued for three weeks before the bid opening date. Typically, in the solicitation the architect will have a pre-bid conference. Sometimes these pre-bids are mandatory. The pre-bids are mandatory because usually there are topics discussed about the project that help the project be successful and they show the interest in the project and ensures that the general contractor have looked at the plans before to ask intelligent questions at the pre-bid meeting.

The pre-bid meeting gives the contractor the time to go look at the site and this can sus out problems or give the contractor questions to ask that can be addressed in an addendum subsequent to the meeting but before the bid date. It takes an addendum to change the contract documents legally in a bid. The contract documents are plans or drawings, the geo-tech report, if there is one, and the project manual. The project manual contains the specifications for the project, the bid forms, and the solicitation. The solicitation is advertisement as noted above; the bid forms are the forms that the bid will be filled out on; and the specifications are a list of requirements for each trade or area of work that will go into the project. When the project is a remodel and not new construction the specifications may not contain sections regarding earthwork because the building is already existing and no changes in the foundation are occurring; however, if there is going to addition to the existing building then there will be earthwork before other work continues.

The Gore project was construction management project. These types of projects contain drawings or plans and a project manual. But instead of owner and the architect receiving one bid from a general contractor the owner, the architect, and the construction manager will receive the bids from the individual trades. The trades are divided up the construction manager into groups called bid packages and contain scopes of work.

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The construction manager will review the project and determine what it would to complete the project and divide that into trade specific bid packages. The division is easy to see in trades like mechanical, electrical, and plumbing or MEP trades. The construction manager isn’t going to have the raceways done by the plumber or the duct work in the same bid package as the sewer lines, although the projects do have some overlap. The mechanical technician or tradesman will have some electrical work to do but will not connect his units to the electrical panel.

The mechanical tradesman will also not run the gas line if there is a unit that requires natural gas and there aren’t going to be putting hub drains or condensate drains. While condensate lines or duct work will be run right beside electrical raceways and the exhaust piping will run right beside the sewer venting the work is going to be divided up trade. If the project contains enough of a specific type of work it can get it’s own bid package. The decision of what is enough work is made by the construction manager.

Something like fire alarms or data networks can be pulled out as their own trade or they may be put into the bid package of the electrician. An electrician doesn’t typically set up networks so if they intend on bidding a bid package they will have to subcontract out that work especially if it is fire alarm where you have to be a licensed technician to do that type of work.

Another instance of trade being combined or split is sod work in earthwork. Subcontractor who do earth or dirt work at a commercial level don’t usually do sod. Earthwork requires the ability to read geo-tech reports and civil plans, in particular telling types of dirt and seeing the path water will take. In the case of Gore, the sod was small enough to place into the Earthwork bid package, so once the project was complete the contractor that was awarded that bid would then have to hire a sod contractor to replace all disturbed grass or plant sod on a reworked area.

If the Kiefer would have been over budget the first time in went out bid, then the owner and the architect could have chosen the lowest of the Tulsa Commercial Contractors to bid the project and try and convince them to show them the bids from the various bidders in the contractor used to compile their bid and see where the project could be cut or brought into budget. Contractor’s aren’t always willing to do this because it exposes their mark up. If you counter that with the Tulsa Commercial Contractor chosen to be a construction manager, like at Gore, if the bids were to come over budget the three parties can look at the project and say hypothetically, the earthwork is “x” amount of dollar too high because of the sod quote, if we cut that out we can save that amount of money, conversely the construction manager may say all the bids were close and we have to explore other means of reducing project cost. This is in addition to the other ways in which general contracting differs from construction management.