Why You Might Work with a Pavement Consultant

Not many contractors hire pavement consultants (we hire them to speak at National Pavement Expo), but property managers and owners hire consultants such as Benchmark Inc., Chec Management Systems Inc., and Murphy Pavement Technology to develop bid specs, oversee, and double check the work contractors do. An article in the May newsletter of Benchmark Inc., which consults on roofing and pavement for commercial property owners, shows what can happen when a consultant isn't used and why consultants can be worth well more than their fee. According to the article, Construction Observation -- A Valuable Service by Russell V. Timmerman, Benchmark Inc. was hired to design rehabilitation of a section of parking lot and private road pavement for a commercial property. Benchmark provided all the pre-job work but the client decided not to hire Benchmark to conduct site visits during the project. The client did, however, hire Benchmark to perform a final walk-through with the client and the contractor. Among the problems Benchmark discovered after the job was completed was that the contractor shorted the customer more than 365 tons of binder material and 149 tons of surface material -- roughly $71,000 in hot mix asphalt not being placed amounting to 25% of the overall cost of construction. Obviously the contractor in this case was the problem, but Benchmark discovered it and helped the property owner negotiate an extended warranty for the pavement as well as make sure the contractor did not receive payment for materials not placed. Contractors increasingly report working with pavement consultants on more and more projects, but the relationship doesn't have to be adversarial. The consultant is there to handle the technical aspects of the work that most property managers don't understand -- and don't have the time or the inclination to learn. As long as the contractor does what he (or she) is expected to do, the consultant and contractor can form a team that provides the best job for the customer.

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