I recently had a long conversation on the phone with an angry and frustrated project manager working for a construction company. Not because of anything we’d done wrong, but in the hope we might be able to help.

It turns out, one of our customers had recommended us to a construction company that needed immediate assistance with the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) element of a construction project.

They had instructed the contractor to be on site at 8am and yet 4 hours later, there was still no sign of the errant tradesmen. And despite numerous voicemail messages, the contractor could not be contacted. A day lost and a slipping schedule of works had prompted the call.

Construction and refurbishment projects run to a tight deadline. It takes time to develop work programmes, liaising with multiple contractors to make sure every piece of the puzzle fits perfectly into place, on time.

When main contractors are let down by sub-contractors, it can cause enormous disruption. Unreliable sub-contractors cost money and time, undoubtedly affecting the quality of the finished project.

But it’s not only the big projects that matter. Working with a reliable contractor you can trust is important regardless of the size of the project. Every customer will be equally important to the right HVAC contractor.

If you’re waiting for a contractor to install, repair or maintain the air conditioning system at your premises and they don’t turn up at the agreed time, it might raise questions about their professionalism and the quality of their work.

So before engaging the services of an HVAC contractor, there are some key things you need to consider:

Firstly, what accreditations do they hold? Accreditations demonstrate the company’s compliance with all the necessary regulations and industry standards.

Here at Holborn we’re accredited by the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS), which means we are audited regularly to ensure our Health and Safety practices comply with industry regulations.

HVAC equipment is complicated and the regulations governing the way it has to be installed and serviced are regularly updated. This is why it’s important to make sure you engage with a contractor that is properly certified.

We are REFCOM F-Gas certified, which means we know how to handle F-gases and to prevent their release into the atmosphere. And because we also fit commercial heating systems we are a Gas-safe registered company.

We are also members of the Building & Engineering Services Association (BESA) and hold a number of important accreditations you would expect a quality contractor like ourselves to have.

A contractor should also be able to clearly demonstrate their previous experience working on projects like yours. Case studies should be readily available and should detail recent work as well as projects for long-term clients.

When you make an initial enquiry, there are some questions the contractor should be asking; what are the building occupancy numbers? What hours is the building in use? What are you looking to achieve? A site survey will also need to be carried out before pricing is discussed.

And of course, there are questions you must ask them. This may seem obvious but it’s worth confirming the contractor guarantees their work. All professional companies should guarantee their work for a minimum of one year.

It’s also essential to discuss their emergency response rate. Is emergency 24-hour cover available? Not only is it available, but is there a clear plan in place in case of an emergency; how will you contact them? Will your call be answered, even if it’s at 3am?

Then there’s energy efficiency. A professional and reputable HVAC contractor will be able to advise on energy-efficient air conditioning, helping you to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. All whist delivering a cool and comfortable environment for those working within.

Even if you are referred to an HVAC contractor by someone you know and trust, these questions still need to be considered. Having a bad experience isn’t pleasant, especially when the work is critical to the completion of your project, or the well-being of your employees.

The angry and frustrated project manager I mentioned earlier is now one of our clients. I’m happy to report that we have restored their confidence in our profession, delivering the solutions they require at the time they need them.

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