For contractors, effective subcontractor management is a lot like coaching a football team. When the offensive line doesn’t do its job, protection breaks down and the entire play falls apart. Small delays can snowball very quickly, leading to major cost overruns that derail big projects.
The key to effective subcontractor management is making sure you’re leveraging the right tools for support. Trying to keep track of a project with a mix of cell phone photos, jotted down notes, and pockets full of receipts might work if you’re putting up a shed, but when it comes to large scale projects you need to bring in the big guns: Construction Management Software and Visual Documentation. Here’s how these two technologies can supercharge your subcontractor management:
Everyone is happier when there’s greater visibility into what’s happening on the job site, and nobody has to take anybody’s word that things were done correctly. Being able to track progress remotely using visual resources eliminates a lot of guesswork, allowing you access to a firsthand account without relying on communication solely from subcontractors and job site leads themselves. At best, visibility allows you to schedule more precisely, and, at worst, it keeps your subcontractors honest.
Visibility also means having an ongoing record of work performed that’s easily searchable. When things hit a snag, having fast and easy access to the right documentation can mean the difference between a quick fix and a prolonged logistics nightmare.
Visual documentation provides the tools you need to schedule between teams easier, letting your subcontractors in on progress to prevent conflicts and confusion. Video and photo documentation provides contractors with a living record of the work being done, which is indispensable when looking to answer questions between team leaders.
Photo documentation is also used to document installation progress for underground and in-slab utilities, exterior weatherproofing, and the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) systems between inspection and cover-up. Communication between teams installing this important infrastructure means preventing costly rework, especially those that could include breaking up an entire concrete slab and performing a new pour.
Communication via visual documentation also means getting the word out to stakeholders, scheduling subcontractors smarter, and getting progress reports on demand from anywhere.
Higher visibility means finding potential problems before they become major delays (or, worse, accidents). By closely tracking your subcontractor’s progress, you can also keep an eye out for mistakes in the work and get them resolved before you’re ready to move onto the next phase. This can help prevent scheduling conflicts and also helps provide documentation for permitting and inspection while you work, saving time later on.
Safety and Speed
Professional visual documentation providers offer an array of tools to allow contractors to document progress in hard-to-reach areas. For example, a lot of companies have begun to hire unmanned aerial drones to observe work from an aerial perspective on the project site. From higher elevations, you can collect volumetric data estimates, perform safety inspections, and even assess job site safety perimeters and traffic patterns for materials planning. All without costly surveys or having to put anyone in a risky position.
Cover Your Asset
At any given moment, millions of dollars are locked up in lawsuits stemming from shoddy work and costly delays. According to some surveys, litigation is on the rise in the construction industry. No one wants to go into a project thinking about collecting evidence, but when you need it, having well organized and professional visual documentation is priceless for shoring up your case.
Happy Stakeholders, Happy Projects
Construction management software has changed the way contractors lead projects, but it’s also changed the way they interact with banks, accountants, and big investors. As someone who interfaces between lenders and subcontractors, your ability to explain tangible progresses and establish clear deadlines is priceless.
Visual documentation services offer instant access to the job site from anywhere, which allows contractors more tools to make the people funding a project feel more informed. Open communication and project progression proof can prevent costly stop-payments and funding delays on loans. Steady revenue flow keeps your subcontractors paid up on time, which means happy teams and fewer work stoppages.
At the end of the day, managing subcontractors comes down to skill and experience. However, that doesn’t mean that technology can’t lend a hand. Versatile new services such as visual documentation take what contractors do and make it easy to read, preventing miscommunications, lost documents, and other mixups.