Previously I spoke about how a Tulsa commercial contractor gets work. I talked about how a Tulsa commercial contractor has to travel to pre-bids look to look at sites and get special instructions about the project and to understand it’s scope, and how it’s a Tulsa commercial contractors responsibility to get the project out to subcontractors, but I would like to describe how a Tulsa commercial contractor decides what subcontractors to send a project to and why it is so important.
To be clear, once a general contractor obtains the plans and specifications for a project, especially if you are a general contractor that self -performs little to no work, you must look through the project and determine the which trades will be needed to complete the project. Some of the trades in commercial construction are very specialized and it is easy to overlook a relatively small item and not know that you need a special subcontractor and missing that item could leaving you guessing on bid day, and if you are blindly guessing it could ruin your bid.
The problem with guess is if you guess low and you are awarded the project and the subcontractor you find cost not only what you have in the bid to cover it but gets into the profit, and the counter to guessing to low is guessing so high that it keeps you from being competitive in the bid; however missing a specialty item all together is worse than guessing, especially if you are awarded the job, and that could be further complicated by when you actually figure that you missed an item.
Missing a part of the scope of work isn’t just limited to a specialized trade because often the specifications for the project will have a section for some specialized trades or items. One of the recent jobs I have as a Tulsa commercial contractor had steel stairs with alternating treads. The plans did have the stair drawn on a page and had it labeled alternating tread, but I could have been easily overlooked, but there was specification section outlining the manufacturer of the specific stairs that they wanted.
In contrast, there’s another job that called for resilient tile, which is common, but in a small line in the finish schedule the owner had the architect put a very specific type of tile made of recycled marble and the specifications for the tile were a subsection of the resilient tile and only consisted of a few lines. This particular tile increased the bid of the lowest flooring contractor by sixty percent. This would only make a small percentage of the overall project bid but if it could have easily been the difference in lowest bid that were submitted and would also take away a large part of the margin for the Tulsa commercial contractor.
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Had the flooring subcontractor not recognized that tile and revised their price and placed their bid without the tile and the Tulsa commercial contractor didn’t recognize how low the bid was and Tulsa commercial contractor or the general contractor were awarded the project the flooring contractor would probably “pull” their bid and not be willing to perform the work. This would mean that the general contractor would have to select the bid from the next flooring contractor, of course ensure that the next contractor had the tile included in their bid, and whatever the difference is between the first and second flooring bids would have to be covered by the general contractor.
If the price difference were large enough, it could force the general contractor to also “pull” their bid, but this would probably mean that the owner and the architect would cash in the bid surety or the cashier’s check that was written for 5% of the overall bid. For the general contractor with a 5% cashier’s check it is a simple calculation, will moving to the next bidder cost more or less than the cashier’s check is worth coupled wit the amount of overhead and profit.
There would of course be other concerns when considering whether or not to just pull your bid. Building relationships with architect so you get invited to bid their work could severely be damaged by removing your bid. By missing an item and not catching it until after you were awarded the bid could suggest that you hadn’t read the plans thoroughly enough to complete the project. While it is up the individual trades to complete their scope of work it is the responsibility of the general contractor or the Tulsa commercial contractor to not only understand the bids with all the inclusions and exclusions but to understand the project and what all is going to be required to complete the project.
We have to know what is required to complete each specific task or trade within the project and when they will overlap. The general contractor can’t just send the plans and specifications out to list of subcontractors and rely on them to pick up the different items that apply to the various contractors. The general must go through the project and determine if what trades will be needed and send the plans and specifications to the specific subcontractors that do jobs. A contractor wouldn’t want to send a job that consists of a parking lot to a subcontractor that just does aluminum and glass.
If the contractor does that the subcontractors will not continue to look at the invitations to bid that do not pertain to them, and since the contractor needs to be able to answer questions from the subcontractor once the project is awarded and be able to coordinate the sometimes dozens of different subcontractors that could potentially be working on a project. The general contractor is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the progression of the project and in a bonded project, relying solely on your subcontractors, could leave you in a difficult spot if there were something significantly wrong and the owner or architect cashed your performance bond. After the bonding company paid the owner to complete and remedy the issue, the bonding would try and recoup its loss through suing and confiscation of the company’s assets.