Top 5 Details a General Contractor Should Consider Before Hiring a Civil Contractor

With an increase in civil construction project scale, complexity, and environmental impact, it’s critical for General Contractors to hire a Civil Contractor they can trust to fulfill a project from planning to completion; delivering on time, safely, and to a high standard of quality.

We’ve prepared a summary of the 5 most important areas a General Contractor should consider when deciding what type of Civil Contractor to work with on their next project:

  1. Commitment to Safety
  2. Range and Availability of Equipment
  3. Skilled, Experienced Workers
  4. Strong, Effective Leadership
  5. Relevant Project Experience

In this summary, we explain why these factors are important, and clarify how IWC Excavation is positioned to meet these expectations as the preferred Civil Contractor throughout BC.

1. Commitment to Safety

Most Civil Contractors will communicate safety as a key pillar to their organizational culture, but it’s important to understand what standards of safety are being met.

Within the construction and aggregates industries in British Columbia, a set of occupational health and safety standards have been developed by the BC Construction Safety Alliance’s Certificate of Recognition (CORTM) program, in compliance with WorkSafeBC regulations. In order to achieve COR certification, a Civil Contractor has proven their ability to assess any jobsite for potential risk, with the ability to properly manage these risks and self-audit to continuously improve safety performance.

Civil Contractors that lead with a culture of safety perform better. As a result of the strict self-auditing process, safe contractors become reliable, predictable, and efficient. With a commitment to safety in place, incidents and injuries are reduced, and contractors are able to deliver a high standard in quality and meet deadlines with consistency.

Any Civil Contractors that don’t comply to any formal safety regulations become a higher risk to work with. Jobsite accidents or incidents can lead to significant delays and shutdowns, pushing the project behind schedule and exposing themselves to costly fines and penalties.

As a COR Certified Civil Contractor, IWC Excavation leads with a culture of safety. This structures every project we take on with a foundation of health and safety, ensuring all employees, subcontractors, clients, and stakeholders are aligned with this commitment.

We are continually staying up to date on safety trends and changes to regulations. We translate new methodologies and practical applications to our jobsites, to remain diligent in our day-to-day safety practices.

2. Range and Availability of Equipment

All Civil Contractors require the use of a wide range of heavy, earth-moving machinery and attachments to complete their projects. One of the big differentiators between Civil Contractors is whether they choose to own or lease their fleet of equipment.

With the amount of construction projects in development throughout BC at any given time, the importance of a Civil Contractor owning and maintaining their own fleet of equipment is one of the main indicators to projects being completed on schedule.

With equipment ownership come the obvious benefits of availability and convenience, as well as the peace of mind that the equipment has been well-maintained and is safe to operate. Equipment Operators are also able to receive full training on owned equipment, developing familiarity and mastery with the machinery, to maximize output, productivity, and efficiency on each project.

If a Civil Contractor is limited to leasing their construction equipment, they expose themselves to the availability, quality, and range of the equipment on the rental market. All these risks have the potential to delay project schedules.

With a fleet of over 50 pieces of heavy machinery, all serviced and maintained in-house by certified technicians in a modern facility, IWC Excavation is committed to managing a fleet of modern equipment, in a range of sizes and equipment type to complete any jobsite task.

By owning a large, well-maintained fleet of construction equipment, we’re able to accurately schedule an appropriate mix of equipment for every project, ensuring they arrive to each jobsite on time, in peak operating condition, and safe to operate. With the flexibility to lease additional machines for specialized, specific tasks, IWC Excavation is fully equipped to fulfill multiple small and largescale projects across BC.

3. Skilled, Experienced Employees

As important as access to available, reliable equipment is to civil construction productivity, so is access to a pool of skilled, experienced employees.

It’s not uncommon for Civil Contractors to manage multiple projects at the same time, with project schedules and timelines overlapping. Combined with a skilled labour shortage within BC’s construction industry, the biggest challenge faced by all Civil Contractors becomes attracting, training, retaining, and developing enough industry professionals to complete projects safely, efficiently, and on time.

If a Civil Contractor doesn’t manage a large team of skilled, experienced workers, they’re likely relying on hiring new or temporary workers to fulfill each project. Managing an unfamiliar crew can create onsite communication issues, which leads to mismatched expectations in quality, safety, productivity, and timeline delivery standards. And without a commitment to train and retain a workforce, these inefficiencies will return with each project.

At IWC Excavation, we have a team of over 100 skilled employees, who are experienced working with each other, as well as in coordination other subcontractors and project stakeholders. This access to such a large base of skilled workers allows us to schedule project timelines effectively, and mobilize a core team of trusted, dependable professionals to any jobsite at any time, even when projects overlap.

IWC Excavation is recognized in the industry for developing a rewarding and respectful work environment, where we encourage our workers to advance their skills. Each team member shares the same values of onsite safety and continual workplace improvement.

4. Strong, Effective Leadership

Successful project management in Civil Construction begins with the leadership team in place. The leadership team is ultimately responsible for defining the vision and direction of the company, and establishing the expectations of values and culture that trickle down to the jobsite.

With an effective leadership team in place, a Civil Contractor can plan and oversee the efficient management of labour, material, and equipment to optimize jobsite productivity and maintain project schedules.

Civil Contractors that do not recognize the impact of leadership are more likely to experience onsite conflicts, miscommunication of expectations, and mismanagement of resources. This results in disengaged workers who are not operating safely or productively, delaying the completion of the project’s timeline.

IWC Excavation’s leadership style is built on a foundation of trust and clarity. We take the time to train, develop, and empower our workers to be successful onsite, and clearly communicate, define, and structure the work that needs to be complete. This ensures our company is able to work with each other efficiently, to plan and execute our projects according to schedule.

Combined with IWC Excavation’s challenger mentality, our leadership style is what has allowed us to grow so rapidly to become the preferred Civil Contractor throughout BC. It’s contributed to our ability to attract and retain our core of 100+ employees with a commitment to continual improvement, maintaining high standards for safety and quality.

5. Relevant Project Experience

Prior experience in Civil Construction is critical to understanding the full scope of a project before breaking ground. Accurately estimating productive work hours, scheduling equipment and material arrivals, and preventing jobsite injuries and incidents all come with experience.

With experience come the ability to budget, schedule, and define the scope of work to be completed with confidence. This includes the ability to assess safety and environmental risks, coordinate team and equipment availability, and meet deadlines for permits, documentation and reporting requirements.

Without relevant project experience, Civil Contractors are at a higher risk to commit any number of costly mistakes that ultimately result in delayed schedules. This includes the inability to anticipate the type of equipment or amount of materials required, as well as the inability to forecast onsite conditions or measure progress.

At IWC Excavation, we have over 13 years of Civil Construction project experience throughout BC. Familiar with both urban and remote locations, year-round in all types of weather conditions and climates, we have the experience to confidently lead in any situation imaginable.

We’ve built a reputation to deliver on time, on budget, and safely in every project we manage. We never cut corners on quality, nor do we ever compromise on safety or environmental practices. We communicate effectively within our team, as well as with subcontractors, clients, and other stakeholders to set project expectations for success.

For more information on how IWC Excavation can meet your expectations as a Civil Contractor for your upcoming construction project, or to answer any questions you may have based on the information we’ve provided above, please feel free to reach out and contact us at any time.