Subcontractors have always been an essential part of any construction project. They provide construction companies and general contractors with the means to source the required skills at different project stages and milestones: carpenters, electricians, plumbers etc can all be scheduled to arrive at the right time to perform their jobs.
In a perfect world, they never miss deadlines, maintain high quality, and save GCs and project managers time, risk, and money. However, in reality, the more subcontractors you need to manage, the harder it is to perform effective management. Over the long history of construction as an industry and with the experience of thousands of professionals, several best practices have emerged in managing subcontractors to ensure that the work is completed to schedule and standard; here is what you should remember when working with subcontractors.
Dealing with the Domino Effect
Imagine that you hired someone to finish your basement. They provide you an estimate of five weeks work, which later grows into eight. In this scenario, the only person affected is you and hopefully you didn’t need to change many personal plans or events as a consequence. If we look at this scenario in a construction project context, such a delay would snowball into another since, depending on the project scale, there can be 20-30 subs on site at a time. The result: missed deadlines and significant cost overruns, derailing big projects.
Another concern when involving people who aren’t a permanent member of the project team is communication. While with that basement finishing you can check the progress as often as you want and talk to the workers, managing even a dozen subcontractors is challenging and demanding. When subcontractors don’t have an effective way to report their progress back to you, it is extremely hard to monitor how a project is developing. So, the key to effective subcontractor management is leveraging the right tools for support, like management software and visual documentation.
How to Keep Track of Payments
Being a construction professional, you know how important it is to plan ahead. That’s why it’s vital to decide which tools and solutions you want to use for a certain project. Better yet if you give yourself the chance to try them out before applying them to a real jobsite or when you have a dedicated team responsible for the delivery of the expected results. For example, solid construction software solutions can help you track the cash flow and tax payments.
What’s more, such cutting-edge solutions as photo documentation tools can not only give visibility of progress by maintaining accurate and reliable data available at your fingertips but also streamline payments when they’re tied to project progress. So, when subcontractors finish their work on time, they expect to be paid on time as well, and you can meet their expectations—having frequently updated proof of progress, it’s not necessary to wait for the next site walk before approving payment.
Construction is a high-risk industry, so when hiring a subcontractor, you should do your best to provide them with a safe work environment. One way to do that is minimizing the number of people present at a jobsite at any given moment, which had been a best practice even before the pandemic. Now, with 360 Photo, you can conduct safety reviews and progress update meetings without physically visiting the site, which helps to decrease the risk of Health and Safety issues.
Summing up, managing subcontractors is the skill that comes with experience but can be supported by the right technology tools. Photo documentation can help prevent miscommunication, keep everyone in the loop about project development, and support troubleshooting. Contact us today to book your 360 Photo Demo and learn more about construction photo documentation.