What to Look for in a Multifamily Housing Contractor
A guest post by Quinn Korzeniecki, Senior Communications Associate, Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI). BPI is a non-profit organization that has been raising the bar in home performance contracting since 1993.
Choosing the right contractor to do a high quality job in multifamily housing can be a struggle. In this day and age, anyone with a tool belt and a truck can call themselves a contractor, so how can you be sure you select one who will complete the job on time and on budget while maintaining a high standard of work?
Certifications show interest in expanding knowledge and skill sets
It is important to be sure your multifamily housing contractor holds all of the required licenses from state and local municipalities to complete the work you need before signing the contract. Licensing does not guarantee a positive experience with a contractor, but it does indicate a certain degree of professionalism and that the contractor is committed to his or her job.
To take it a step further, you may choose to seek out a contractor with specific certifications in multifamily housing. Contractors that have invested in course work and have passed rigorous tests to earn multifamily certifications through the Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) have proven their knowledge. When in the market for a contractor, look for these certifications:
- Multifamily Building Analyst (MFBA). Contractors with this certification understand how to apply building-as-a-system fundamentals to diagnose problems and improve the efficiency and performance of large, more complex residential structures.
- Multifamily Building Operator (MFBO). This certification means that a contractor has learned building science principles to apply maintenance and operations strategies that can increase multifamily building comfort, ensure occupant safety, increase efficiency and save money on energy costs.
To successfully attain these certifications, contractors must pass a written exam and a picture-based practical exam (for the MFBA) or a hands-on field exam (for the MFBO), proving their knowledge on the subjects. Many successful candidates take extensive training courses and devote a significant amount of time toward getting these certifications and bettering their business.
To locate a contractor that has these or other BPI certifications, you can use BPI’s online locator tool. You also have the option of locating a BPI GoldStar Contractor company near you, which are companies that have proven themselves to be among the best home performance contractors out there.
Referrals and references are important
Word of mouth and referrals from others who had work completed by the contractor are also helpful to take into account when you are comparing different companies. Sites such as Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor offer services that allow you to read other reviews of each contractor. Company profiles on social media outlets like Facebook also include an option for customers to provide ratings and feedback on work completed.
You’ve chosen a contractor who has great referrals, licenses, and certifications to do work on your multifamily building. What do you do now? Here’s an idea of what your next steps might look like:
- Start tracking the energy and water usage of your portfolio in WegoWise, so you can identify areas in need improvement and benchmark your buildings against similar peers.
- Get a comprehensive energy assessment completed on your multifamily building.
- Review the recommendations and improvements report with your contractor.
- Discuss financing options, if necessary.
- Accept the bid and get started on improvements and retrofits.
- Your contractor will test the building at the completion of the project to be sure everything is working properly.
- Submit appropriate utility rebate and tax credit forms, if applicable.
- Measure and verify the impact of your retrofit and enjoy your energy savings!
Interested in making your portfolio more efficient, but not sure where to start? WegoWise can help you identify savings, detect energy and water spikes, as well as measure and verify the results of a retrofit.
Quinn Korzeniecki joined the Building Performance Institute, Inc. team as the Senior Communications Associate in August 2015. She credits her English degree from the College of the Holy Cross for helping pave her way as a blogger, content creator, press liaison, social media and overall marketing specialist.