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Restoring Academia: What to Look for When Reviewing Restoration Bids

Every building, after some period of time, will start to get tired and need restoration. Since there are many types of buildings, each with a different purpose and architectural style, there is also a wide variety of restoration contractors suitable for each specific job. Some specialize in home renovation, historic restoration, academic restoration, stone restoration, roofing, wiring, plumbing, masonry etc.

Restoring Academia

Restoring academia comprises all buildings concerned with education and research at colleges and high schools as well as all the buildings that may reside on these campus properties including libraries, chapels, and theaters. In accordance with the importance of pursuing education is the importance of maintaining and restoring academic buildings. Consequently, hiring a competent and qualified restoration team is necessary for the job’s satisfactory completion. The key element to hiring a trustworthy team is knowing what to look for when reviewing restoration bids.

What is a Restoration Bid?

The process of finding a restoration company for a certain project includes work specifications, qualifications, and bids.

work specification is a detailed document describing the scope, treatment method, materials, and any concerns within a given project. This is done for each trade element in need of restoration i.e., a plaster specification, gilding specification, paint specification etc. The specifications are written after the building has been properly assessed and, although usually written by architects, restoration contractors with the required knowledge and expertise can be a huge help in this step. In the specifications it is also important to list the minimum qualifications required to perform the work to make sure the contractors have the necessary skill set to perform the scope of work.

Once the specifications are determined, a bid package is assembled and the project is put out for restoration contractors to bid on it. In the bidding process, a restoration contractor will supply qualifications, which consists of items showing that they are qualified for the job including project examples and references from their past work and how many years’ experience they have in that trade. This needs to meet the minimum requirements from the specifications. The bidding contractors will also supply a proposal for the project which states what work will be performed and the cost to perform that work as well as any other requirements that you have stated in the bid package.

Reviewing Restoration Bids

Depending on the bids received, most people think about the cost as the deciding factor. But what is most important is choosing the right contractor(s) for the job.

Choosing the Right Team

The right restoration company should fit the requirements laid out in the work specifications. This will include the type of restoration the building needs and whether the restoration company is experienced in that type, how many years of experience the company has in the field, how many similar projects they have completed, and the quality of those projects. Other things to consider are the elements in need of restoration- plaster, artwork, woodwork, masonry- and whether the contractor is experienced in restoring those specific elements.

You may have to bring on a number of contractors to cover the specialties and scope for the various work to be performed on the project if one contractor doesn’t cover/qualify for each job that needs attention. The timeline of the project and schedule of its completion might also require that multiple contractors work simultaneously, especially if the job is on a tight schedule.


Although the quality of the job performed is the most important thing, it is also vital to consider the cost of a project when reviewing restoration bids. The contractor chosen for the job should have a projected cost stated in his bid package that is within your budget.

Hold an Interview

Once the bids have been received and reviewed, an interview with potential contractors will greatly aid in selecting the right team. This interview should include reviewing the scope of the project to make sure the contractor is on board with all plans and goals. An interview also allows for personal connection with the contractor to get to know their company and work better.

There are other details that should be considered such as insurance, warranty etc.  To get a better understanding of what you should be looking for, download our free resource to get the checklist for hiring a restoration contractor here.

Short Cut the Process

This process can be significantly shortened if a competent and trusted restoration contractor and team is already at hand. Trust in a company, which may come from past experience or recommendations, allows one to skip the entire bidding and interview process and get right down to the details of scope, budget, schedules etc. A trusted team will work with the owner to develop and execute his/her project with the utmost care and efficiency.

Canning C

November 16, 2021

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As a conservation studio and restoration contractor, our team of highly skilled craftsmen, artisans, and conservators are experienced in the use of traditional methods and materials. We understand the importance in sharing our expertise and knowledge in our field.

Check Out Our Higher Education Restoration Guide