The Tailgate

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When the low bid costs more . . .

There are many good reasons to compare prices for all the vendors and partners on your project, but at times the low bid may come with unintended consequences that are costly to you. What does this look like in the erosion control market?


It is our opinion that the construction industry is stuck in a rut when it comes to choosing erosion control contractors (aka BMP contractors). It could even be called a vicious cycle. First, the industry as a whole has adopted the attitude that as an environmental requirement, stormwater compliance BMPs do not add value to the final product. This leads to reluctant compliance. Yes, we know there are exceptional companies who truly value managing their environmental compliance. And yes, even reluctant compliance can be compliance. Meeting the minimum requirements is at least meeting the minimum requirements. But this prevailing attitude sets up a dynamic with the BMP contractors that does not help builders or the environment.


Second, because of the reluctantly compliant attitude, choosing a contractor for stormwater BMPs can become totally cost driven without regard to quality. Some BMP contractors recognize this and decide that they will cater to the desire to pay as little as possible. Unfortunately this often comes with a reckless lack of quality. So instead of meeting the bare minimum, installations become mere window dressing.

BMPs are installed that might meet the initial inspection, but are not durable enough to last through the life of the project.


Now comes the part we call a self-fulfilling prophecy. The low quality installation is never meant to last. It is the low bidders’ strategy to make money off the maintenance and repair of their inadequate installations. Builders will naturally be frustrated with the need to pay for maintenance, but they often misplace the blame for the core problem. Instead of dismissing a low performing vendor, they blame the BMPs and the contractor and the builder both complain about how senseless the regulations are. Contractors are sympathetic: “Hey, we realize this stinks. We cannot believe the city and state are requiring this nonsense. But at least you’ve found us, the lowest cost provider, right?”

What’s wrong with this picture? Even you are one who is “reluctantly compliant”, the path to managing costs is not to choose the low cost provider, it is to choose durable BMPs that will reduce your maintenance costs, be simpler to manage, and give you a lower total cost over the life of your project. In other words, it pays to do it right the first time.

One and done is a far better strategy than paying for a series of underperforming installations.

DTEC understands that we are in the minority on this issue. But for more than twenty years we’ve worked with clients who understand that installing high quality BMPs, doing it right the first time, is good for both the budget and the environment.

We invite you to explore how using D Fence and other high quality BMPs can improve your bottom line. Explore our Solutions page or give us a call at 303-306-1606 to run the numbers and see if this counter cultural solution is right for you.

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