You may have seen in a recent Member Update or a press release announcing a new SMACNA associate member, Bespoke Metrics. Their platform, Compass, helps streamline third-party certification.
You may not have seen the full impact of third-party pre-qualification yet, but it is a growing trend among primary contractors and real estate owners to mitigate risk by prequalifying the companies they choose to work with. The qualification process can be time consuming and unique to each primary contractor’s request and the more primary contractors you work with, the more requests you may have to manage. Imagine every bid you make, having a unique request for financial, insurance, employment, legal, recent project size and scope, safety, and other sensitive data about your company to fill out and submit, and you start to see the impact this has on SMACNA members.
SMACNA is trying to minimize the time and cost it will take contractors to manage their third-party certification process because it starts consuming administrative hours and eroding profit margins for our contractors.
The plan is to standardize the process. Based on feedback from contractors, 90 percent of the questions asked and data required by the pre-qualification process is asked on every request, making it a highly repetitive process that would greatly benefit from a standardized approach. Another concern is the inadvertent sharing of sensitive information with a broader audience. Bespoke retains sensitive data and creates a “risk management score,” which provides owners and construction managers with a way to compare or evaluate contractors without directly accessing a contractor’s sensitive information.
The model offered by Bespoke Metrics enables SMACNA contractors to enter, control and manage the information they share with primary contractors. With the data loaded into the COMPASS Platform, SMACNA members can control who sees it on a case-by-case basis (as part of the bid), and the data auto fills and updates as contractors receive new information to add to their profiles. Any unique questions are highlighted while the rest of the data is auto populated, saving a significant amount of time repetitiously filling out the same data with each bid.
In conversations with Bespoke, it is also clear they want the information to benefit prime and sub-contractors as well. This could include scores for owners, construction managers and other contractors for any contractor to use to evaluate their risk involved on a particular project.
SMACNA will engage with COMPASS, other pre-qualification providers and other trade associations to see if the process can be streamlined, standardized and useful to both upstream and downstream stakeholders. The goal is to reduce the time, costs and risk associated with the current pre-qualification process and maintain or improve the benefits.
Aaron Hilger is CEO of SMACNA, bringing more than two decades of executive association leadership to this role. Hilger is focused on building a stronger, more competitive environment for all SMACNA contractors.