If you are a small business, in either the manufacturing or service industries, it is doubtful that you have your own maintenance person or team permanently working for you. Whenever you require repairs carrying out to roofs, guttering or roadways, you'll engage a professional company to carry out the remedial works for you. And, unless you decide to ask your secretary to pick up a paintbrush, maintenance will also include the painting of your building's exterior.
If you do not go about obtaining a contractor to carry out your painting work in a professional way then you may end up paying over the odds. In addition, you could end up with a substandard job which does little to protect your building assets and will need doing again before you had intended. This article explains how to go about finding and employing the right contractor.
It is a good idea to talk to some of the other small businesses near your own, to determine how they deal with painting contracts. Are there any painting contractors they could recommend, which you could consider putting on your short list?
The exterior painting process of any building can be divided into two major elements; surface preparation and painting.
After talking to your business neighbours, you need to determine in detail what you want painting. Draw up a list of the numbers and sizes of all the doors, windows and barge boards etc., and if appropriate, the area of walls to be painted. Whilst you are doing this, it is essential that you examine the condition of each and every element to be painted to determine whether or not they require
any repair works prior to being painted. This could include eroded brickwork or rendering and rotten timber. You should consider at this stage if it would be more cost effective or beneficial to replace rather than repair entire windows and/or doors if their condition is either poor or beyond repair. You could consider either new timber replacements or perhaps the installation of UPVC windows and/or doors may be considered as a longer term, cost beneficial solution. You need to be extra careful with your specification if your buildings are listed or in a conservation area. Whatever your decisions, they should be clearly specified so that the eventual contractor is fully aware of what you require from them and there are no grounds for future contractor claims, either during the works or afterwards.
Once any repairs have been clearly determined and specified, then it is important to write down in detail how you want the existing sound and repaired surfaces treated prior to painting. This may include washing or pressure hosing for walls and the sanding down of both bare and painted timber with the appropriate grade of glass paper. You should state that your inspection and approval of all the surfaces to be painted will be carried out prior to painting.
The next thing you have to do is specify the painting element. Before any painting is permitted, all the surfaces to be painted must be dust free and all bare wood surfaces must be initially treated with a knotting liquid which prevents the future leaching of resin from existing knots. The first application of heat reflect paint
should be with a primer to all bare wood and metal surfaces. The specification for its use and application will be found in the paint manufacturer's data documentation, either in a brochure or on the web. The subsequent coats of undercoat and surface finish should be clearly specified including surface preparation between coats, the number of coats of each type and the colour and matt or gloss properties of the final layer. The specification for each coat can be obtained from either paint manufacturers' brochures or their web site. A clause should also be included reminding the contractor to take note of the prevailing weather conditions during each element of the painting procedures.
It is important that the contractor is regularly inspected and any problems or variations to the contract are clearly written down at the time when they are verbally given. This gives the contractor new, clear instructions and enables them to provide you with estimates of any additional costs within an acceptable time limit. A guarantee period should be stated for the works and written into the contract.
It is important that you obtain quotations from at least three different painting contractors and that your list remains confidential until after the closing date to prevent any collusion between contractors. This will also assist you in obtaining a competitively priced tender. It's a good idea to ask tenderers to provide you with the names and location of works they have previously completed. This means that you can check their work and ask previous clients if they were satisfied with the standard of work, particularly with reference to Health and Safety and the use of ladders and scaffolding.
You could, of course, employ an architect or building management company to prepare all the above paperwork and site supervision for you, but this can be expensive and could add to the total cost of the work. So, have a go yourself. You will not only save money but you will be proud of what you have accomplished.