The Bidding Process

Because this topic is so important, we have broken it up into two parts. In next week’s blog, we will focus on inspecting the roof, taking core samples, detecting moisture, evaluating your costs of the job, and more.

Bidding on New Construction

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New construction can be bid in several different ways. Typically, an architect is hired by the development firm or owner to design a building, meeting requirements for occupancy, fire and safety, and national and local building codes. The actual construction of the building is then jobbed out. The work can be handled by a general contractor or by a design/build firm, which both designs the project and builds it from the top to bottom.

In this case, the project architect is responsible for specifying the roofing portion of the project. If a job interests you, it is up to you to demonstrate to the general contractor or project architect that Conklin’s systems match or surpass the specified product. The long-range goal, of course, is for a Conklin coating to become the specified product.

The architect’s specifications will sometimes list one of more manufacturers, with a qualifier such as “Product X or approved equal.” “Approved equal” generally means that in order to bid a different product, you need approval from the architect. If the wording “or equal” is used without “approved,” you must simply show that the material submitted equals or exceeds the specified product. Even when Product X is specified without the qualifiers, “equal” or “approved equal,” it is still common to submit voluntary alternatives. Architects and owners will usually consider these alternates if they are presented in a professional manner and promise cost-savings for the project through less expensive materials and/or labor.

contractor-biddingIn the case of the General Contract award, as mentioned previously, subcontractors submit roofing proposals to the general contractors bidding on the job. The general contractors each evaluate their numerous subcontractor bids and submit a comprehensive bid to the owner. The winning contractor then awards the individual subcontracts for each different part of the job. Thus, a roofing subcontractor is contracted with, and employed by, the general contractor for the roofing portion of the project.

These contracts can involve much interaction with architects and owners, and legal language, which binds the subcontractor to certain regulations and conditions, including possible union labor stipulations.

Bidding on Retrofit

While the bidding documents for new construction may sometimes be intimidating to a new roofer, in retrofit they usually take the form of a more straightforward proposal, submitted by the roofer directly to the owner of a commercial building. While your responsibility in retrofit is certainly no less than in new construction, the contracts and legal language are likely to be less complex. And, you will probably be dealing with the building owner unless your roofing project is part of a large-scale, overall building renovation. In this case, the job may more closely resemble a typical new construction project with more complex legal documents and regulations.

Importance of Accuracy

While consulting a lawyer to interpret contracts is not usually necessary, it is imperative that you fully understand all the requirements in the documents, and feel confident you can meet them. Carelessness in reviewing specs and contracts can lead to your liability for failing to follow stipulations. Your reputation and future job prospects depend greatly on this professional attitude toward your work.

Since a majority of Conklin roofing projects involve retrofit treatment, the remainder of this blog post focuses on the steps and procedures in inspecting and bidding retrofit work.

Consulting with the Building Owner

When you have learned of a retrofit roofing job that interests you, the next step is to meet with the owner to discuss his or her needs and gain a more complete understanding of the job.

To this initial consultation, you should bring a notebook or clipboard for jotting down information, as well as brochures and spec sheets on Conklin’s products. Also helpful are any professional references earned from past jobs. These factors will help maintain our image as a professional contractor network.

Building a Roof History

The building owner should have blueprints and specifications describing the roof’s structure and composition. However, be aware that these plans may have been created before such additions as new wings, penthouse suites, air conditioning, solar units, and other alterations. The city may also have building plans on file.

Check to see if the ownership has been constant. If the building has changed hands, ask if the blueprints and documents are up to date. Do not proceed until you are satisfied that the information given to you is accurate and current. Once your bid is accepted and the actual work has begun, you may have little recourse if “surprises” occur concerning the roof’s structure.

The owner or manager should be able to tell you what, if any, repair work has been done and when it was completed. Knowing how the building was constructed, where supports are located, and what roof deck materials were used can be invaluable, if, for instance, it becomes necessary to install a new drain of lay down boardstock prior to roofing treatment. Different materials, time and labor are required for different roof decks. Knowing all the facts ahead of time can help you make a quick and accurate assessment of the situation.

Intended Use of Building

Another important fact to establish with the owner is the actual and intended usage of the building. For instance, is it used for manufacturing, storage or shipping? Are high levels of humidity present? Are hazardous fumes generated that require special ventilation? Is the interior of the building subject to sudden or extreme temperature changes? All these factors are valuable background information, which can make accurate evaluations during the subsequent on-site inspection.

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Written by: Ian Myers
Ian Myers
Ian was the very first team member brought on by the original co-founders of the Choice Roof Contractor Group to assist with nationwide growth. Since then he has written 120+ blog posts and provided excellent support to the roofing contractors in the group. Through his multiple roles in the commercial roofing industry, he has gained tremendous knowledge in the sector.