Cracking the subcontractor circle |

Cracking the subcontractor circle

Tim Olson, the general contractor on the Forest Place Residences project in Vail, has worked with many of the same contractors for years. When it’s time to build, Olson will call John Rasmussen for framing, Dick Raymondo for trim carpentry, and a gaggle of other people he knows and trusts.

Olson said flatly it would be difficult, and maybe impossible, for a new company to break into that trusted circle. But it can be done.

Jon Stavney is a project manager for Beck Builders of Avon, which builds big homes in Beaver Creek, Cordillera and other high-priced areas of the Vail Valley. Like Olson, Beck has a trusted team of subcontractors. But it’s possible to get in.

The key, Stavney said, is experience and savvy.

“If you have a fairly new company and ask us for bid documents, if those documents throw you for a loop, you probably can’t work for us,” Stavney said.

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To get experience, for the big projects, subcontractors need to start on smaller jobs, Stavney said, and work up to the complexity of a big job.

“You probably need at least five to seven years in the trade,” said Erik Peterson, an independent construction manager.

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