Subcontractors have become the norm at construction sites. The benefits to construction firms are plenty. But so are the risks. On the surface, a quality sub should make your job easier. Alternately, a sub-quality sub can put your entire operation in jeopardy. As you weigh the pros and cons of using subcontractors on the jobsite, here’s what some construction industry experts are saying as to how you can get the most out of these relationships and mitigate risk at the same time.
The only risk you assume here is time lost to vetting an unqualified sub. Take the time to thoroughly screen who you will be working with. You’re likely to minimize headaches down the road. Start by confirming they are licensed and insured. Then look at experience, supervision of work, safety record, business management (is it well run, organized and in good standing), legal history and processes on and off the jobsite.
2. Set Expectations
You know how you want your jobsite to run and the quality of work you expect. Make sure subcontractors have a clear understanding of the same. Getting on the same page at the start of a project can save valuable time and money when you’re against a deadline.
3. Have a Plan
This is something most project managers are doing anyway. Make sure subcontractors are included in plans for safety talks, work flows, material deliveries and everything else that goes on during a construction project.
4. Communicate Often
This may seem simple, or even obvious. But with so many moving parts, communications are often overlooked. Have frequent check-ins with subs to ensure their work is progressing as planned. Ask about potential issues and give feedback on work performed. Even the best subcontractor can’t fix something he doesn’t know is broken.
Insurance expires. Safety records change. The sub you hired may no longer meet the standards you set up at the beginning. Rechecking subcontractors ensures you and your project are always in compliance.
For more information about working with subcontractors, look at the resources below.
Managing the Complexities of Subcontractor Compliance
Subcontractor Management Strategy: An Approach to Manage Subcontractors in Construction Projects