Sourcing quality trade contractors


Finding high quality contractors can be a challenging task

Does your property need some urgent repair work? Perhaps you’re looking for some long term upgrades?

One of the most important things a Resident Unit Manager should consider when answering these questions is how they are going to source quality trade contractors.  The abilities of tradesman vary as widely as the number of trades they serve, and RUM’s should always be on the lookout for the best available contractors.

When searching for contractors and tradesman, you first need to consider what work you want to get done.  Check to see what condition it is first – make sure the money actually needs to be spent!

It might not require any action to be taken, or it could be an easy fix.  But if it is sufficiently complex, you may need to engage specialist advice.  This is particularly the case for anything highly technical on your property.  Having problems with your lift may prompt you to talk to your lift company, but you can engage an independent lift consultant to see if the work needs to be done.  If for example, your lift company tells you an expensive refit is required and you have been recently upgraded, this independent second opinion ensures you are getting the best deal and not being ripped off.

After confirming the necessity and scope of the work, you should decide who to employ to undertake this work.  There are a number of ways to select a tradesperson, and an easy place to start is online, or through the Yellow Pages.  This can be an excellent source for any work which needs to be quickly rectified.  Finding the cheapest option can be, but is not necessarily, the best option.  If you are spreading mulch onto gardens, such a task generally does not require highly qualified and expensive contractors.  But if you are working on an expensive retrofit or upgrade done, it is prudent to examine a number of candidates to ensure you are not being ripped off.  Overpaying $30-$40 for spreading garden mulch is very different to overpaying by $30,000-40,000 for a $1,000,000 upgrade of your fire suppression systems.

With this in mind however, ensuring risk is minimised and work is done properly is just as important as value for money.

You do not want to be left in a situation where substandard or non-compliant workmanship will cause ongoing and expensive problems.  Word of mouth is an excellent way of determining the credibility of contractors – it is always optimal to hire those with a good reputation in the industry.  Community managers can also be an excellent reference point when sourcing contractors, and their knowledge can be invaluable when determining what kind of reputation a contractor has.  It is also important to double check for appropriate licensing and necessary qualifications for whatever work they are doing.

Once you have selected a tradesperson, always check specifics such as price, availability, guarantees or warranties on labour and materials.  These discussions should also determine when payment is due, whether a contract is appropriate, and whether progress reports are necessary.  It is important to protect yourself, and to minimise risk – be certain there all and any relevant safety standards which might be in play are complied with.

After the contractors have done their work, make sure you go out and ensure the work has been done up to standard – there is nothing worse than having low quality work come back to bite you in future weeks or years.  Some buildings may engage independent certifiers to ensure work is up to standard.

If you need further advice on employing contractors or having work done on your strata scheme, talk to SSKB.  Our expert team can provide you with professional advice to ensure you and your scheme get the best outcome possible.



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