Specifier Search Criteria
What Specifiers Look for in a Concrete Polishing Contractor
By Christopher Bennett
Concrete polishing specifiers work with clients for weeks, even months, to develop a concrete aesthetic suitable for a project. Expectations are set that the finished polished concrete floor will make the client’s facility beautiful, sustainable and low-maintenance. Now it is up to the specifier to bring those expectations to life, guiding the process of selecting a concrete polishing contractor. Choosing the right craftsman and company is critical for the specifier if they are to achieve the desired design intent. So what exactly do specifiers look for when selecting a polishing contractor?
The following information is written from a specifier’s point of view. The aim is to provide contractors with insight into just some of the steps a specifier goes through when choosing the right company for a job. Specifiers want to reduce headaches during the construction and impress their clients by suggesting a sustainable polished concrete floor system, so they are often thorough in their searches.
A Specifier’s Decision-Making Process:
1. Make a list of potential concrete polishers in the area and ask key questions. How long have they been practicing their trade? Determine the general size and scope of the concrete polishing projects they complete. Consider the types of projects they are involved in. The craftsmanship required for “big-box” store polishing is quite different from projects with highly decorative work. The list of candidates will be appropriate to the client’s project needs.
2. Narrow down the list and look at the track record of each contractor. Have they worked with architects and GCs in this area? Check with colleagues and ask how their experiences with these contractors went. Would they work with them again or avoid them like the plague? Plan a trip to visit a few completed projects and use this opportunity to review their craftsmanship and the sustainability of past floors.
3. Consider budget and, if possible, find out roughly how much the contractors have charged in the past for similar work. Even if there is a bid process, have a reasonable estimate of what to expect based on the design intent and expectations of the client. This is critical. The contractor should provide accurate pricing for the individual specifications of the job.
4. Check for up-to-date training and certification. Make sure that candidates are not only certified installers of the product selected, but also understand surface texture grades (STG) and proper refinement techniques. Are the candidates familiar with CSDA-St-115 Measuring Concrete Micro Surface Texture and certified to this Standard? Contractors actively engaged in furthering their education shows a commitment to quality and honing of their craft.
5. The list of potential candidates should be based on experience, education/certification and visiting of past projects. Select a couple of the best ones to contact. Provide some specifics of the project if applicable, but talk in general terms about what is to be achieved. Is the contractor listening and trying to understand the design intent?
If all other qualifications have been met, the specifier will sometimes choose the contractor with good manners and one that makes them feel comfortable. Therefore, always put across a professional attitude during any meeting or conversation as it can sometimes be the difference between winning or losing a job.
To summarize, concrete polishing contractors should consider what specifiers often look for when making their decisions. The information above should serve as a guide to help both parties, and is not indicative of every, single consideration when selecting the right contractor for a job.