Construction projects, however big or small, typically require the input and contribution of more than a single team of workers. In fact, subcontractors are often essential to the success and timely completion of every construction project, simply because you need to supplement your staff with other teams and individuals with specific skills and expertise.
Now, while hiring subcontractors is often a must, that doesn’t mean that management is an easy task, which is why it is imperative to create a detailed strategy to ensure safety on the construction site, timely and efficient communication, accountability for each individual on the team, and quality of work.
It should go without saying that contractors and their subcontractors need to build their professional bonds on mutual respect and trust, and help each other thrive during uncertain times as well, like in the post-COVID-19 world. What’s more, it is imperative to create an exceptional culture for all workers under your brand to ensure simultaneous growth. To achieve all of this and reach new heights of success in the years to come, here’s what you need to know when managing construction subcontractors.
It all starts with qualifying your subcontractors
First things first, you have to know who you’re getting in bed with before anyone signs on the dotted line. If you’ve been in the game for some time, then you probably already have a list of your trusted subcontractors you always get in touch with when a new project rolls along. However, if you’re looking for new partners to work with or if you’re just starting out as a contractor, then you have to do diligent research on any potential partners. It should go without saying that this is the only way to prevent unpleasant scenarios like subpar work, miscommunication and bottlenecks, missed deadlines, and many potential liabilities that could put your own brand in jeopardy.
With all of that in mind, you should start the qualifying process by checking the subcontractor’s previous projects and completed work. Make sure to analyze the results, their process, work ethics, and how satisfied their clients were. Verify their certifications and licenses. Be sure to check their safety records, ask if they are insured, and most importantly, ask to see their legal records.
Setting expectations and putting everything in writing
As the head contractor, you can’t guarantee any deadlines or quality of work if you don’t set clear expectations for your subcontractors. Of course, you have to be reasonable and take their own processes into account, which is why you need to have a meeting with the key stakeholders and work out a plan that works for all sides. Consider letting your subcontractors set their own deadlines and then fill the gaps in other work that needs to be done so that everyone has enough time to ensure quality and client satisfaction.
That said, if you feel that some deadlines can be shortened, you can see if there is any way you can help your subcontractor expedite their processes. The key to everyone getting their way is clear and honest communication, so keep that in mind at all times. Once you have worked out a timetable and set the deadlines, be sure to put everything in writing in a detailed project summary to ensure accountability across the board.
Maintaining seamless communication throughout the project
Efficient and effective communication is the key to a successful construction project and a thriving workplace culture for all. To that end, your priority should be to implement a comprehensive communication system like VoIP to facilitate seamless communication between all workers no matter where they are, and especially between on-site and off-site staff.
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has many features that make communication efficient and effective in a fast-paced work environment. Among the most popular providers you will find Nextiva that offers mobile apps and optimization, various conferencing tools and features, call analytics, and most importantly, low-cost phone communication over the cloud. All of these features allow everyone to communicate easily without making you break the bank in the process.
Professional treatment with a friendly approach
When working with contractors, your goal should be to form long-lasting partnerships and boost the authority and trustworthiness of both your companies. This requires professional conduct at all times with a friendly smile and plenty of understanding from both sides. Be sure to treat your subcontractors with respect and always pay on time, and you’ll gain their trust and gratitude.
Be understanding of any troubles they might have or roadblocks that might come up during the project and they will respond in kind. What’s more, don’t forget to commend them on their work in order to boost morale and use your downtime to organize team-building events. Invest in all of your workers like this and you will have no problem ensuring team cohesion and mutual trust.
Regular reporting and continuous monitoring
On a final note, you can’t hope to run a tight ship if you’re not constantly monitoring progress as well as the work and well-being of all your subcontractors. A construction project is a living, breathing entity with many moving parts, which is why you need to use the right reporting tools and monitor all of its aspects continuously to make sure everyone is staying productive and happy on the job. Be sure to create detailed reports regularly to keep the project moving along while ensuring team happiness and cohesion.
Managing subcontractors can seem like a complex task, but in reality, it can be a straightforward process if you follow the right tips and best practices. Implement these tips into your strategy and you will have no problem organizing and conducting a successful construction project every time.
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