How to handle a difficult contractor?

senior-electrical-engineeerIn every Electrical & Mechanical Projects or in EPC contractor projects sometimes we meet a difficult contractor which maybe can delay your project or even cost you money.

Here, one of our members will give some tips about how to handle a difficult contractor in case you meet them (hopefully not). Don’t forget you can send us this type of article too! Just send a mail.

State the scope of the project clearly

There was one occasion several years ago when I required contractor to installed new IEC LV Switchgear. But instead of offering the LV switchgear that I wanted, they offered me non-type tested LV switchgear.

Well, I thought it was common knowledge that the switchgear should subject to pass the type test but apparently this one was not the case. They didn’t understand that they had to supply type tested switchgear because I didn’t mention that in the specification (well, why would I have to state such of that common knowledge?). Finally after long discussion, they agree to supply the switchgear.

So my advice is to state the specification of the equipment clearly and rigorously to prevent any dispute with contractor (the difficult one) in the future.

Establish good communication

As a client, our goal is to finish the project on time and on budget and in accordance with our requirement. But for contractor, their goal is to get a specified profit while fulfil the client request. It is clear that both parties have different objectives, so we have to cooperate with each other.

electrical  contractor communication

Start to communicate with the contractor about the scope of the project right after the winner of the tender is decided or even before that. Try to obtain whatever the obstacle that can happen in contractor’s point of view if they are appointed to do the project. If you can discover as soon as possible, you can manage or minimise the risk before the project starts. Keep doing this during the project, and either you or their goal can be achieved with minimum conflict.

Stay alert to avoid the contractor outsmart you

difficult electrical contractor
Difficult contractor often persuade you that their offered design or their offered design specification (which often cheaper than your requirement) is also acceptable.
If you have approved vendor list in your tender document, they also may offer a new vendor which may offer cheaper price than a vendor in your vendor list. They do this action in order to reduce the cost to increase the profit. It ever happens to me when I doubt my design, and they immediately exploit my doubt with their persuasion.

Well, you have to prepare the reason why you demand such design to contractor. You have to update your knowledge with up-to-date standard and regulation, insisting that your requirement comply with recent standard and local regulation. Show them the standard or regulation to end their persuasion. If they persuade you to accept a new unwanted vendor, tell them why the offered vendor is not in your vendor list reasonably and logically. Finally, the best practice to cope with this action is by always giving them an objective reason.

Have you ever had a hardtime with a contractor? How did you handle it? Share your story with us and post a comment below!

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