Welcome to SANA Global Projects


Office Timing

MON - FRI 09:00 - 05:00

+234 902 700 0000

Concrete worker

Choosing a Civil Engineering Contractor: How to get it right 

Choosing the right civil engineering contractor is a critical decision that could make or break your project. While it is often tempting to take on a contractor offering the least costs, your primary focus should be whether they will give you good returns on investment. If you want to learn more about the field of civil engineering in general we recommend you this comprehensive guide to civil engineering.

The right contractor will save you a lot of time and money during the project, making it run easier and faster. When selecting an engineering contractor, a key factor is communication. You should provide your proposed contractors with details of your project. It will guide them when creating a proposal for your project. Poor communication will bring you a stream of the wrong contractors, causing project delays and losses. 

So, what other key elements must you consider in choosing the right civil engineering contractor?

construction machinery


When handling a complex construction project, you want a responsive partner who can handle your needs promptly. So, the right civil engineering contractor should be able to maintain clear and consistent communication.

They must be regular at the site, overseeing activities. And when not physically available, they must still be reachable in case of anything. Otherwise, an unresponsive contractor will have you panicking often and,  in some cases, their delays could put the project on hold, causing massive losses.

Furthermore, the ideal civil engineering contractor should be able to listen to and understand your needs. That way, they can execute according to your plans and goals.

Since they operate on the ground, the right contractor should be able to provide regular updates about the project timeline, workers, etc. That way, you remain informed and at ease. 

crane during construction


Creativity & Versatility 

Unlike other fields, construction can be highly dynamic. Unexpected setbacks, risks, or opportunities often arise. So, you need a civil engineering contractor who can quickly adapt and tackle whatever situation in the best way possible.

Such traits would often reflect on their track record with other projects. You must pay attention to their experience and team skill set. For example, a team with a narrow set of skills is more likely to remain rigid even in the face of unforeseen changes. 

Aim for those with a track record on complex projects who can quickly alter course while still maintaining the end goal in sight.

construction worker in nigeria


Working Within Your 

Set Budget

You must have derived a budget estimate for your project at this point. So, as you choose, the right civil engineering contractor for you would probably be one that can work within your budget. 

Some contractors may have more efficient processes and equipment that make it possible to execute work cheaper than others. Regardless, when contractors quote relatively cheaply, you should make sure you delve into why their offer has that cost. This is important to avoid working with companies that cut dangerous corners. 

Bonus: It would be great to find contractors who can provide value engineering. Value engineering means increasing the value of your project by evaluating each item’s function and its cost. Using cost-benefit/ratio, your engineering contractor can advise how best to improve your construction method. They design and align them with your project goals.


Proper Documentation

 & Insurance

When choosing a civil engineering contractor, you should look through their documentation, such as licenses and insurance. In most cases, they must provide their permits to the client in the proposal or qualification response. This ensures that all the work done is legal, thus, avoiding issues with the law.

Furthermore, you want to work with bonded contractors only. Bonds act as surety measures to ensure that you are protected if the company cannot complete the project or execute it properly.

civil engineering in process


Project Team Expertise


After identifying suitable companies, analyze their project teams. You must know the qualifications of whoever will be running your project. Do they hold the necessary experience and skills to see that your project flows successfully?

The best way to evaluate the project team is to ask each potential contractor to provide resumes of the people they anticipate leading the project. These should include their experience on similar projects, their education, or their professional backgrounds.

With that information, you will be able to make a clear decision on which team is fit for your particular project. The team should, by default, have civil engineering majors, maths, physics, chemistry fields, among others.

Where the need arises, you could also carry out background checks to ensure none of them has a track record on dangerous habits like safety breaches.

construction in process 4


Experience in Your Project Type

 As a rule of thumb, your proposed civil engineering contractors should have at least some decent experience with the project you would want to start. Such project-related expertise will give them a better idea of what challenges might arise during the project and how to tackle them.

The best way to evaluate a contractor’s experience is first to determine the specs of your project. Determine the size, nature (new construction or renovation), project location (e.g., surface or slope), etc. With these specifics, you can narrow down the list of those with experience. 

crane working during construction

Partnerships & Subcontractors

When choosing a civil engineering contractor, you should consider the quality of partnerships and the subcontractors they bring to the table. It is vital in creating a workforce that will balance the tasks at hand and ensure work efficiency. 

A good contractor will bring partners with more experience to the team and possess great chemistry with the local subcontractors in the area. These will also bring a more balanced team, highly skilled labor, and a hospitable work environment to the task force. 


In some cases, though, based on the challenge at hand, the company should be able to identify and source credible new subcontractors to take up the job without “trial and error.”



Discipline & 


The discipline and safety of individuals are paramount in your project. Your objective should be to minimize danger as much as possible. 
Construction crane 4
Therefore, before choosing a civil engineering contractor, you need a clear picture of their commitment to safety. You can assess these through various safety markers such as EMR (Experience Modifier Rate), OSHA 300, and 300a, among others. The lower the EMR (1 and below), the lower the risk of accidents when working with a company. 

Accidents happen once in a while, but a high frequency of onsite accidents should be a red flag. A safety-conscious company often takes various documented measures to mitigate these during work, such as training on safety and safe handling of the equipment used. Information regarding the company’s safety policy can also provide helpful information. 


Prioritize & 

Value Your Goal

When choosing a civil engineering contractor, you will want to work with a team that understands your goals and is willing to help you realize them. It is common for contractors to try and impose their ideas into the clients’ projects. Whereas this may sometimes be necessary, your contractor must always have your needs top of mind. They must be able to provide a professional opinion when needed while also accounting for your project vision. 

So, your engineering contractor of choice should understand that the client takes the front seat in decision-making. 

In Conclusion

Finding the right civil engineering contractor is critical to the success of your project. So, you want to take your time and get it right. The above tips are a few essential issues you should consider for a start. However, depending on the uniqueness of your project, you may consider other factors as well.

If you need a reliable civil engineering contractor for your project, reach out to us and see how we can help.