It’s never fun to hire a contractor or company to perform a service. You worry they’ll be too expensive or that they won’t get the job done properly. Yet you don’t have time to do extensive research beforehand. And when firestop projects cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars per effort, you can’t afford to make a bad decision.
With so many companies out there, how do you choose the right one?
Here are five things to consider when hiring a firestop contractor:
Whether the company has experience installing the types of materials required for the project.
Don’t assume that a firestop contractor is knowledgeable about every area of firestopping. Make sure that the company has on the job experience with the type of materials needed in your facility. Any contractor should also be cross-trained between firestop manufactures to keep up to speed on new systems and products. It also goes without saying that any company you hire should have a history of projects comparable to the size of your facility or larger.
Whether the company documents the areas they’ve inspected.
A good firestop contractor documents areas that have been inspected (even if there were no penetrations or joints found). They also document specifically what UL System was used to make the repair, take before and after pictures of the repair and point out other code violations or areas of concern (i.e. wires/cables on sprinkler pipes, open electrical junction boxes) they find while performing routine inspections.
Whether the company can easily explain WHY repairs were made.
In addition to carefully documenting repairs, a firestop contractor should be able to easily and clearly explain why those repairs were made. They should also provide a full report on demand (preferably before you even ask!). Many companies, including EOC Solutions, allow you to access reports online with up to date information.
Whether the company offers periodic scheduled maintenance inspections to ensure safety of patients and staff.
Any reputable firestop contractor will make it a priority to encourage regular inspections and maintenance of all rated areas in your facility so that they are in compliance with the NFPA regulations. That way, your patients and staff are safe (giving you much needed peace of mind).
Whether the company takes professional development seriously.
You want to hire a company that cares about training its staff. For example, some contractors will join professional organizations so they can stay up-to-date on building code and new developments in the industry. Many organizations, including the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA) or the International Firestop Counsel (IFC), offer meetings and workshops that boost professional development. When contractors take professional development seriously, they’re more likely to catch issues in your facility before they become full-fledged problems.
Stay away from companies that:
- Have never worked in the health care environment
- Do not provide a detailed proposal
- Send workers without proper uniforms or workers who do not behave appropriately while working in a sensitive environment
- Do not provide photographic evidence of penetrations (both before and after repairs)
- Do not share comprehensive reports on the work performed
- Fail to obtain ongoing training or lack an internal comprehensive training program for employees
Another tip: review proposals carefully. Don’t just look at the price – look at the quality of the work the contractor provides. Also make sure to verify the company’s address, tax I.D. number, phone and fax numbers (this step is often forgotten!).
Have questions about which company to hire? Give us a call at 215-499-0808 or contact us online.