10/01/2008

Hiring an Electrical Contractor

Find out what you need to know before bringing in a pro

By Rob Colgan

 

Inquire about a contractor's warranty and insurance, and get it in writing.

Electrical Contractors Can Help You Go Green
An electrical contractor can help you achieve your green goals. Here's how:

  • By achieving LEED certification. The electrical contractor is involved with two prerequisites and up to 28 of the 52-69 total credit points necessary to achieve Platinum LEED-NC certification. When seeking LEED certification, the electrical contractor will have a significant influence on the project's success.
  • By improving energy efficiency. Reducing the power it takes for a building to operate is usually the first step to cut operating costs, while also reducing a building's environmental impact. Energy-efficient systems are an important aspect of LEED, but what's really attractive to building owners is the money they can save over the life of a building.
  • By integrating alternative power sources. Effectively using alternative methods of power generation takes specific skill and experience with a wide array of new products. Manufacturers frequently offer "certification" for installation of their products, and product warranties may be voided if the installer isn't certified by the manufacturer or a licensed electrical contractor.

Any electrical contractor that you hire should be technically proficient, reputable, and financially stable, and should demonstrate a thorough understanding of your business. The following suggestions can also help you find the right electrical contractor for any electrical job, whether it's new construction, an upgrade, or maintenance.

Codes, Regulations, and Processes
The two most important considerations for any electrical installation are electrical safety and electrical-system reliability. The electricians who directly perform the work, and the contractors who employ them, should follow recognized standards of safety and quality.

The National Electrical Code® (NEC) is the nationally recognized electrical-safety standard, and has been adopted by the wide majority of building-inspection authorities at state and local levels. Your electrical contractor, and the contractor's employees, should be licensed in the jurisdiction in which your project is located. This means that the contractor fully understands and complies with the NEC, and that the work will be inspected under the standard, resulting in a safe installation.

Reliability means you can be sure that the installed electrical systems will continue to perform for a long period of time and as they were designed. Make sure the people who install your electrical work are adequately trained to ensure safety and reliability.

References and Experience
You're looking for a contractor who is financially sound and has a good reputation. Make sure you talk to customers in your industry who have done business with the contractor.

Electrical work falls into four general areas: power, control, information processing, and communication. Electricity is also an integral part of other building systems, like HVAC and lighting. Owners and facility managers who have existing relationships with an electrical contractor, either in terms of maintenance or new installation, have immediate access to a professional who can perform an energy audit for their building. The electrical contractor will determine how much power is being used and which systems require the most. The electrical contractor can then offer a list of options for reducing power use or improving energy efficiency.

Warranty and Insurance
Finally, inquire about the contractor's warranty and insurance, and get it in writing. Does the contractor guarantee that the work will be installed to meet code? Will the contractor correct work that doesn't meet applicable standards? Insist on a written estimate and a copy of the contractor's insurance certificate. Make sure the proposal or contract specifies that the work to be performed will comply with the NEC and, where applicable, National Electrical Installation Standards.

A good flow of information between the customer and the electrical contractor is critical to keep a construction job on schedule and budget. A contractor needs to be a business owner first and foremost, capable of managing the materials and labor in order to the keep the project on schedule. Working with a licensed electrical contractor ensures that any electrical work performed will be done safely and will function according to the client's specifications.

Rob Colgan is executive director, marketing, at Bethesda, MD-based National Electrical Contractors Association.

 


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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
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