If you’ve ever been in charge of a construction development, you will most certainly have had to deal with issues arising from civil works (among many other things). And we all have that ‘one’ project that blew the budget because the levels were a nightmare.
It’s the job that gave you nightmares, right?
We know… we’ve liaised with many project managers over the many years we’ve spent building bowling greens and synthetic fields for developers. We understand the issues you’ve experienced.
The one thing we see most often is, you are left holding the bag for the levels of a construction methodology that is too specialised for you to know the in’s and outs of.
So, we have set out to help you out and save you from another one of ‘those’ jobs where the levels give you the night sweats…
Here are our top 10 things to look for when choosing your subcontractor that is likely to save you money and keep the stress at bay:
1. Proven works and testimonials
A good subcontractor will have an excellent track record and should be fully transparent with you. Don’t be afraid to ask for photos of previous works and references so that you can contact their previous clients and go and visit their completed jobs to see if you like the finished product. This will allow you to get a good understanding of what they are like to work with and the level of craftsmanship that you are paying for. If they are quality builders they will have this on file ready to send to you, if they can’t show you this that is a big red flag.
2. Ensure they are insured and show evidence of OHS systems
Hiring someone that doesn’t have OHS systems in place while they are working on your job site could cause a lot of legal issues in regards to work safety. For this reason you should ask if they have a copy of recently completed SWMS, JSA’s, Tool box meetings and test and tags as well as copies of all certificates of currency and insurance documentation to ensure they are ready to work on your site before you choose your contractor.
3. Check their ability to evaluate your site plans to ensure the project will fit into surrounding areas correctly
Hiring someone that is experienced at building within the retirement sector is essential to ensure your project flows smoothly. The entertainment areas in retirement villages are not “cut and paste” or a “one size fits all” solution and should be specifically tailored to fit in with all of the surrounding aspects such as bbq areas and the clubhouse.
4. Ensure they have a clear understanding of civils and correct levels for construction
Make sure they are able to clearly articulate what finished levels are required.
Bowling greens are built from the ground out, so it is so important that everyone works together and understands the required levels to ensure the end product works out correctly. They should also highlight to you the importance of pathways around the edges to prevent trip hazards and compliance issues which is a factor that is commonly overlooked when building synthetic entertainment areas for retirement villages which takes us back to point 3.
5. Are they experts in their field?
Question how they handle changes to site plans and troubleshooting the flow on effect of these changes. Ask for examples of how they have navigated these scenarios in the past, as when site plans change (which is common), it effects almost everything.
6. Do they understand the importance of site access?
Ensure they assess the area and have a plan for accessing the site with minimal effect on other trades and surrounding works. A good indication that they value the importance of this is that it is clearly discussed in their quote/proposal or estimation.
7. Do they understand other trade flow?
How do they plan to ensure they do not create a landlocked scenario?
How do they ensure public safety around their site?
These are important conversations to have with all your subcontractors, as long as they demonstrate good and transparent communication skills this shouldn’t be an issue.
8. Do they have knowledge around adequate depths of discharge points for drainage?
This is so important to prevent detrimental future base movement and flooding issues. A lot of people underestimate the importance of getting the base right the first time, a good indication that your subcontractor values base methodology is that this is where the majority of the construction process is spent; you can gage this from their scope of works and the photos of the construction process mentioned above in point 1.
9. Do they have a solid understanding of construction methodology specific to reactive soils (if relevant to your job site)
Most don’t understand the cause of heave. Different soils require different base methodology to ensure movement is prevented and that they last the test of time. As mentioned in point 3, synthetic entertainment surfaces are not a one size fit all and no one bowling green is the same.
10. Check and double check their warranties. Understand exactly what is excluded and what will void your warranty
All too often we hear of loopholes that can end up costing you thousands of dollars in the long run. If you are unsure about anything, ask. If they aren’t transparent then it is better that you look for another subcontractor.