The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of quality references “the degree of excellence of something.” Choosing a contractor that creates excellence in value rather than offering you the lowest price is a critical choice.

In construction, there are three major players to every project: time, quality, and cost. It can be difficult to strike a balance between these factors, and sometimes you must sacrifice one to succeed on the others. For example, if money and schedule are the most important factors on a project, presenting your client with a quality product could be challenging. If delivering a quality product on a strict schedule is most importance to the end user, the cost may increase.

As a contractor, owner, or developer, ask yourself: What is my end goal on a project?

1. Structural integrity and longevity of the building.

Structural integrity is critical to the safety and well-being of tenants, and an end user must be able to trust that a structure will withstand fluctuating temperatures and moisture, environmental changes, and other major factors.

If structural integrity is a top priority, consider:

Does my subcontractor use materials suited to the rigors of the job and the life expectancy of the building? Do they provide adequate training to their workers? Do they have a quality procedure in place, and is the work they produce consistent in quality?


2. Delivery of a project to the buyer on time.

Time is of the essence, and a delay in schedule can create unexpected costs, such as increased building insurance and interest on construction loans.

If commitment to schedule is a top priority, consider:

Does my subcontractor have the manpower required to fulfill their scope on time? Are they proactively pushing the schedule, or do I have to keep pushing them for dates and deadlines? Do they maintain open communication lines and respond to my requests in a timely manner?


3. Offering your client the lowest price.

While the lowest price often looks the most attractive on paper, it rarely results in the best value on a construction project. Some subcontractors make up low contract values by charging costly changes. They may use cheap, unqualified labor or cheap material that may not hold up to the expected lifecycle of the building.

If the lowest price is a top priority, consider:

Does my subcontractor ask questions during the bidding/tender stage if they are unclear about plans or specifications? How will a potential lack of quality or timeliness reflect on my business?

To achieve a high degree of excellence on your projects, don’t fall for the lowest price trap: it could cost you and your client more in the long run. Instead, focus on fostering long-term client relationships, building your credibility, and providing the best value for your clients.