Working with a daylighting contractor is an excellent way to make your design or architectural firm more practical for its clients. A skilled and experienced skylight and daylighting firm is also the ideal choice for expanding your abilities to design modern, energy efficient buildings.
From choosing a daylighting contractor that’s a ‘good fit’ for your architectural firm to finding a company that offers the level of quality your clients are seeking, read on to learn six excellent tactics for choosing a daylighting contractor that reflects your architectural firm’s best qualities.
Need a good fit for your firm? Look at their previous projects
Many daylighting contractors specialize in a fairly narrow sector of the market. One firm, for example, may only work on daylighting systems for schools and a variety of other public buildings, and may not work on offices, factories, and the like.
The best way to find a daylighting contractor that suits your architectural firm is to look at their previous projects. Do they specialize in the same type of buildings that you do? If so, do their daylighting systems match your typical building design?
Some daylighting companies have a specific style – or perhaps a certain product line – that’s more suitable for some architects than for others. The key to design success is picking a contractor that enhances your style, rather than detracting from it.
Need experience? Ask about their history as a business
The massive expansion of energy efficiency in recent decades has resulted in many new businesses entering the industry. As such, you may find that some contractors simply don’t have the level of experience that your firm is looking for.
One of the best ways to get an understanding of a contractor’s project type – and an excellent way to look at their experience in your industry – is to ask for a summary of the previous projects they’ve worked on and their core history as a business.
Is quality a concern? Check if they subcontract or work in-house
In order to reduce costs, some daylighting contractors may subcontract work out to other companies. While this generally isn’t a concern, it can occasionally result in a lower standard of work that reflects poorly on your architectural projects.
It’s important to ask any potential daylighting contractors whether they perform all of their work in-house, or whether they hire subcontractors. If they subcontract, ask about the companies that they use and their level of expertise in daylighting.
Subcontracting isn’t always an issue, but it should be something that you’re aware of and something that’s transparent. A contractor that subcontracts work without any type of disclosure may not produce the results and quality that you’re looking for.
Looking for versatility? Look at the scale of their product line
Many daylighting companies specialize in a certain type of daylighting system – for example, a large-scale modular skylight system for public buildings and schools. If you need versatility, it’s important that your daylighting contractor can provide it.
Ask any potential daylighting contractors for their product brochure and look at the type of products that they provide. Large daylighting companies may have a product to suit any type of design, while others may offer skylights and daylighting systems for a certain type of project – for example, light residential or retail installations.
Looking for design assistance? Ask about design abilities
Many daylighting companies offer design services that can complement your firm’s skillset. If you’re looking for a daylighting partner that does more than provide your firm with products and labour, ask them about their past design projects.
Working with a daylighting company to optimize your designs is an excellent way to combine the best of your abilities. Daylighting companies specialize in maximizing usable light through window and skylight placement, making them a highly valuable addition to your firm.
Choose a firm with a corporate culture that matches your own
Aside from looking at a contractors project history and product line, one of the best ways to ensure a good working relationship is to pick a daylighting contractor with a corporate culture that matches that of your own firm.
While a large contractor can provide the volume to grow with your business, a small firm may provide a more personal level of service. Choosing a good daylighting firm means looking at a company’s culture and matching it to that of your own.