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Vendor Selection for Specialized Facilities, by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM

For the same reason that you would not hire an oil field contractor to build your home, it is a good idea to hire consultants and contractors who are specialized in the type of project that you are doing. Although architects, interior designers, construction contractors and other vendors usually can accomplish a wide range of project types, most have become specialized in just a few. They have gone through the "learning curve" to develop an understanding of the unique requirements of those particular project types, and have probably refined their techniques and tools for executing that work more efficiently. As a result, they will be able to accomplish the work for a lower cost, faster, more smoothly with less disruption and fewer mistakes - all of which make your job easier as the project manager. They will also be more likely to ask the right questions and anticipate problems before they occur. Before hiring any consultants or contractors, it is a good idea to ask for a project list. It is also useful to request a breakdown of experience by project type with percentages for each area. Large and old companies most likely have impressive company-wide project lists, so it is wise to obtain recent project experience of the team assigned to your project. In some cases, working with your organization's staff and processes requires a bigger learning curve than a specialty project, so you should prioritize based on your own circumstances.

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