Hire Contractors, not Friends

May 2018

Contractors are an essential part of maintaining a condo building.  They are necessary for building repairs and upgrades, painting, brick work, roofing, plumbing, electrical work and garage repairs.

Contractors offer specialized expertise, as required, in areas where corporation employees lack specific skills.

Leac Shield, which offers a solution to pinhole water leaks in pipes, is often approached by condo boards that have had bad experiences with contractors.  “Either because of inexperience or preference, contractors may be employed because of friendship or non-business referrals.  While this approach may work it increases the likelihood of poor work, lack of support after payment and accidents.”

A better approach is to rely on condo management to recommend contractors based on their prior experience.  A management company is unlikely to recommend poor quality contractors because it damages their relationship with the condo corporation and could risk their own contractual agreement.  A good condominium manager would prefer not to make a vendor recommendation rather than recommend a contractor that could damage their own business relationship with the condo corporation.

Another approach is to request bids.  This can take a lot of work so should be limited to larger or more important projects.  Low-bid contracts should be eliminated from consideration as they are more likely to utilize lower quality materials or reduced service.  Saving a few dollars in the short-term is unhelpful if work must be redone.

Criterium-Jansen Engineers provides consulting and engineering services to condo corporations.  Before requesting bids they emphasize the importance of undertaking research.  “Decide exactly what needs to be done before requesting bids.  Where a board or management is unable to document exactly what needs to be done it may be necessary to employ a consultant, perhaps an engineer or designer, to prepare bid documents and assist in evaluating bids.”

Decide which contractors to approach for bids.  Qualified contractors can be identified by speaking with other condo corporations, approaching a local building inspector or Condo Resource Guide.

Once bids are received meet with the top few bidders.  Contractors who can be difficult to deal with or which make you uncomfortable during these initial meetings should be avoided.

Prior to signing a contract request a certificate of insurance.  In the event of an accident by an employee of the contractor, the condo corporation does not want to become liable.