There is always work to be done on a building, whether it’s a simple lobby repair or a major capital improvement, but finding the right contractor for the job takes some work. If the vetting process is not done properly, the results could be disastrous.
What if the contractor’s license is expired or that the manager also finds out that the contractor doesn't have the proper insurance coverage. This could leave the building open to massive liability if something should go wrong in the course of the project. It’s looking at those small details that could be the difference between hiring a qualified contractor who can complete a job properly and has the right documentation, and hiring an inept, unqualified contractor that could cause significant trouble for the building.
Trust But Verify
Michael Crespo, president of Manhattan-based Citadel Property Management Corp., understands the importance of vetting a contractor before a job begins. “As the property manager, we take on the responsibility of verifying contractors’ credentials,” says Crespo, who is a licensed real estate broker and a New York Accredited Realty Manager. “There are some cases where active, hands-on board members will involve themselves in this process to build confidence in their selected contractor, but essentially the responsibility lies with the property manager as it’s typically a management responsibility as per the contract.”
Wanting to move quickly on a capital improvement project, the board of one of his buildings had approved a contractor without doing the necessary background checks. Crespo insisted that the vendor get checked out before the job began. It didn’t take long to discover that not everything was in order. “The contractor’s license had newly expired and, upon further scrutiny, it was revealed that he was not even licensed to perform work in the county,” he says.
Interestingly, this contractor that the board hastily hired received rave reviews regarding the quality of the work that had been completed, but the board failed to check out that work too. “Had we gone solely based on the recommendation we received, we would have been very disappointed,” says Crespo. “It just took a quick trip to one of their previous jobs to know they did not have the skills to perform a quality job that our clients expect.”