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Meeting the Needs of the General Contractor

   Author: MetalMag

Meeting the Needs of the General Contractor

One of the main challenges for erectors is building strong relationships with general contractors. The general’s job is to make sure that the project is successful and the owner is satisfied. Thus when it comes to the core structure or exterior of the building, the general contractor needs an erector who is up to the task.

It is in the best interest of every erector to understand what general contractors are looking for during the bidding process. “Experience is a determining factor for a majority of general contractors. Too often, erectors with minimal experience take on jobs that are too big. It leads to problems for all involved, not to mention public safety issues,” says Derek Bentley of STL Erectors, Tualatin, Ore.

Bentley has been involved with several jobs where he has been called in to finish a project gone badly. “Owners find when they get an inexperienced erector that they have to bring in an experienced crew halfway through. It is very expensive for the owner. Owners are learning that it does not pay to go cheap.”

He has been erecting buildings for over 20 years and currently works as both an erector and a general contractor for STL. The company is a design, fabrication, and erection corporation with offices in Florida, California, Nevada, Utah, and Massachusetts. It focuses on providing the customer with one source for steel structural materials, construction, and problem solving.

“The most important issue that I face as a general contractor and erector is finding qualified labor,” says Bentley. “If an erector can prove to me that they are experienced and their crews are experienced, it goes a long way to winning the bid.”

“It also goes hand in hand with competitive pricing,” he adds. “An experienced crew can erect a building in half the time without any problems. It is part of what I sell to our owners; values as our basis for business: Integrity, honesty, communication, and great care in problem solving. That can only be accomplished with experience.” Once the general contractor determines the erector’s experience level, other issues such as safety and references are also evaluated.

By understanding what the general contractor is looking for, erectors can strive to educate their crews to meet or exceed the criteria being set in the marketplace. “Continuing education of erection crews is critical,” says Bentley. “We are working with our associations and unions regularly to train our crews. As a general contractor, I look for erectors with strong continuing education programs.”

Finally, general contractors look for erectors that match their area of expertise. General contractors who specialize in weld-up are going to look for erectors that are structural; similarly, contractors who specialize in pre-engineered buildings look for erectors who specialize in prefabricated systems. “By knowing your area of expertise and working to gain experience in that field, an erector can build relationships that will grow their business for many years to come,” concludes Bentley.

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