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Selection and Oversight of Demolition Contractors and Consultants

By including certain information and requirements in the bidding process and in the final contract, you can better ensure that you select a contractor who will perform the work you want done in a manner that complies with applicable regulations.

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Factors in selecting contractors and consultants

Experience

It is important to consider the amount and type of experience of the contractors and consultants you are considering for work. Here are some approaches:

  • Get references from those who hired them for similar work in the past.
  • Talk to those who used a particular contractor in the past.
  • Find out how a contractor responded to complaints about their work, such as complaints from neighbors about noise or dust.
  • Consider the level of experience, training and the certifications or licenses held by the contractor/consultant and their employees.
  • Past experience doing work in your area may be an important consideration because of the value of familiarity with
    • local conditions
    • local building practices
    • building materials commonly used in the local area
    • local requirements

Compliance history

Check on past performance with:
  • your local pollution control agency
  • the agency responsible for worker safety
  • the agency that licenses or accredits contractors and workers (if applicable for the work being done)

Ask if the firm has been warned or cited for any health and safety or environmental issues or violations.

Find out if they have ever taken any other action against the contractor or consultant for those types of issues.

Licensing

Require bidders to have any required licenses or accreditation.

Subcontracting

If the selected contractor uses subcontractors

  • Will you have any control over whom they choose?
  • How will you perform oversight on subcontractors' work?
  • Is subcontracting addressed in your bid documents and contracts, or in whatever written agreement you use to procure their services?

Conflict of interest

Avoid conflicts of interest (potential or actual). The contractor you hire to assess an environmental issue (e.g. asbestos) should not be connected with the company that performs that remediation or abatement work. Using two different companies avoids conflict of interest.

The person who assesses the environmental problem should not stand to benefit financially from any work done to resolve the problem, so that you can be assured of a fair assessment.

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Oversight of contractors and consultants

When a local government hires contractors to provide services, it is still liable for violations of environmental regulations.

Oversight is important because:

  • it protects the public
  • it protects the environment
  • it ensures that you're getting the services you paid for
  • it ensures that the work complies with regulatory requirements

Even if you're a local government using your own employees, oversight can be useful.

  • Do you have staff with the necessary skills to oversee work such as asbestos abatement or lead paint removal?
  • Do they have any specialized training and safety equipment they will need to enter enclosed spaces where the work is done?
  • Do you have enough staff to oversee multiple demolition projects that are happening at the same time?

Asbestos abatement and demolition at a single residential structure can take place in a very short time, so you'll need to be able to oversee such work during the brief time periods when it is taking place.

Oversight can be very broad. Stakeholders may be concerned about work that contractors are doing. You should oversee how contractors are working with the local community to prevent problems and address concerns.

If residents complain directly to the contractor about noise or dust, for example, how will you as local government respond? Your community will look to local government to be accountable for all aspects of a large-scale residential demolition project.

You could also hire a third party (e.g. an industrial hygienist) to oversee work being done by contractors you've hired. To avoid conflict of interest, it's important that any third party be independent of the contractors whose work they're overseeing.

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Realated publications

Managing your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development (EPA-305-B-04-003, April 2005) contains lists of questions to ask before work begins about who will be responsible for various activities.

On the Road to Reuse: Residential Demolition Bid Specification Development Tool (EPA-560-K-13-002, September 2013) can help you prepare bids and contracts for demolition and asbestos abatement work. It lists recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work being done at a demolition site. Those requirements will help you oversee the work being done.

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