When your project requires a field erected tank, whether it’s the key element or just a very small part, finding the right tank contractor is an important part of the project’s overall success. Many factors affect your choice – pricing, schedule, geographic location, materials, the project’s requirements and the contractor’s specific capabilities. Projects involving welded steel tanks can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several millions of dollars, and any contractor involved who doesn’t contribute to the bottom line is a problem. So, how do you choose the right tank contractor? Consider these tips on selecting contractors for home construction and home improvement projects from Consumer Reports.
Turns out choosing someone to replace your French doors isn’t all that different from choosing someone to build your 1.5 million gallon stainless steel storage tank – you’ve got to do some homework to make the right choice, and evaluating a few key areas will go a long way toward making the right choice.
Safety must be any contractor’s top priority, and any contractor on your site must be equipped to work according to your specific safety requirements. Checking a potential contractor’s OSHA records and EMR data can give some clear insight into their safety performance. Reviewing formal, written safety policies is also a good idea. Third-party qualification programs such as PICS Auditing and ISNeworld offer a complete range of services for project owners to ensure contractors meet the most stringent safety requirements.
Check the contractor’s reputation in the industry. Who have they worked for that you can talk with? Ask a few questions about other customers’ experience with the contractor – from the sales process through the construction process and after. Some questions to ask:
Would you work with this contractor again?
Did the contractor maintain a clean worksite?
Was the contractor available to answer questions throughout the process?
How did contractor handle changes/problems during the project?
How did the contractor handle cleanup each day?
Was the project on time and on budget?
A quick look at the contractor’s website can tell you a lot about the types of tanks they’ve built, and the types of facilities in which they work. A conversation with the contractor may also help give you some insight into their specific capabilities. You can request information about experience in general, or request information about the contractor’s experience with projects similar to what you are planning. For example, if your project requires specialty duplex stainless steel, you’ll want to be sure your storage tank contractor not only has experience erecting stainless tanks, but also has specific duplex handling procedures and weld procedures in place.
A tank contractor should do more that just build a tank on your site. Support in the early stages of the project can be invaluable. Important questions to consider:
Is the tank contractor available to assist with preliminary technical, schedule and pricing information as the project is developed?
Can they provide an early budgetary price that they will firm up when you’re ready to start the project?
Can the tank contractor offer tank design information and value engineering options to help you get the best tank for your project?
Is the contractor willing and able to work with your selected engineer, design-build firm or EPC contractor?
Insurance, Bonding and Financial Stability
Your local Better Business Bureau is a great resource for vetting home improvement contractors, and asking potential contractors for evidence of insurance, bonding and other info that reflects their stability is standard. Tank contractors should also be able to provide you with specific information about their insurance, bonding capacity and their stability as an organization. You need a tank contractor who will not only show up for the job, but also be there for you afterwards. While field erected welded steel tanks require minimal maintenance, they do require some TLC from time to time, and you want to know that your tank builder will be there whenever you call.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a tank contractor – these tips are just a few issues to consider. Doing your homework will pay off when you find a tank contractor that can partner with you to provide expert fabrication and tank construction, maintenance and repair, and can offer a long term relationship that brings project success every time.