When researching heavy civil contractors for your upcoming project, it is important to establish criteria to be met to ensure a successful project. Large, civil jobsites can be chaotic at times, with many moving parts. You want to hire a contractor that can effectively and efficiently run the job, keep all workers safe and keep the job within or below budget. A civil contractor should be “on top of their game” to handle the challenges that arise daily. Here are six key qualities of a heavy civil contractor that are integral to successful projects:
- Commitment to Safety First
Civil construction can be very risky, so having a contractor with a proven safety program will streamline operations and ensure the safety of all employees and those visiting the jobsite. Employees should feel comfortable and confident enough to speak out about construction safety on the job, make corrections and stop work if necessary. A lack of safety can be costly on a large job. If OSHA witnesses safety violations, the fines could slow down or even stop the job. Hire a company that stays up-to-date on safety codes and is not shy about enforcing them. When lives are on the line, it’s always safety first. Ask to see a potential contractor’s safety record and inquire about their ongoing safety training programs.
- Excellent Communication
Communication is integral to the success of a large project. Look for a contractor who promotes an “open door” policy with employees and is amenable to suggestions. Daily meetings or “crew huddles” help set goals for the project, the day or the week. Communication helps establish targets and inspires and refocuses workers to the tasks at hand. This provides an opportunity for employees to pick up on ways to improve and identify where challenges might be developing.
Contractors should also be responsive. You can gauge this when you are in the bidding/sales process. How responsive are they? If you don’t get a response for days during the process, you shouldn’t expect speedy communication afterwards.
A company that continues to innovate its processes will always be looking for ways to improve the jobsite, increase efficiency and raise morale among its employees. A good contractor provides on-going, innovative education and training for employees, thus developing strong and wise field leaders. Creating a sense of accountability on the jobsite inspires and energizes workers to innovate processes and work more effectively and efficiently.
During the bidding process, ask what innovative techniques the company employs to stay ahead of its competition.
All contractors have a reputation, whether good or bad, so look for one known for always doing the right thing. An honest contractor is resolved to providing the highest standards of professional behavior and ethics. What are other people saying about the contractors that you are considering? Ask for references and do your due diligence. While any individual review can be biased, based on unreasonable expectations, or glowingly positive due to a reviewer’s low expectations, the overall trend of a contractor’s reviews, the type of work being reviewed, and whether the same issues crop up repeatedly can be helpful when trying to determine whether a contractor is a good fit for you and your project.
A contract is a commitment, and often means that you will be working closely with your contractor for the foreseeable future. As with any relationship, make sure you like the people you will be working alongside, from the CEO, to the project manager, to the field worker. A good contractor recognizes the importance of each role on the jobsite and works well with all team members. Look for a company that is relationship-driven and builds trusted partnerships -- with clients, subcontractors, and employees -- through integrity, honesty, sincerity, and mutual respect. Ask for references and check up on the status of their relationships.
Quality is hard to measure at the beginning of a project, but you can analyze companies that continually invest in their people, training programs, tools and processes to increase the quality of service they provide clients. This demands a great deal of organization from your commercial contractor. They must be able to streamline tasks and deliveries so that everything runs smoothly and is finished on time.
Once you’ve done your research and found a commercial contractor who is trustworthy, efficient, relationship-driven and provides quality projects on time, without incident, hold on to them. They will make your life a lot easier!
Since 1972, Cycle Construction has been delivering top quality heavy civil construction projects in Louisiana and through-out the Gulf South. Our business is based on relationships. We build trusted partnerships with our clients, so that we might better understand their vision. This collaboration allows us to provide customized operations and turnkey solutions that exceed client expectations. You can read some of our client testimonials here.
For more information on what core values you want your heavy civil contractor to have, click here.