Subcontractors can play an important part in the success of the project. It’s important that subcontractors aren’t chosen purely on price. The subcontractor’s ability to deliver the project on time and to the required quality and safety standards is equally important. I’ve worked on projects where the selection of the cheapest subcontractor ended up costing the project more money than if a more expensive subcontractor had been selected.
Subcontractors are viewed by the client as an extension of the main contractor (general contractor) and a failure by the subcontractor can adversely affect the contractor’s reputation.
Some important points to note when managing subcontractors are to ensure:
1. the contractor’s person managing the subcontractor understands:
a. the subcontractor’s scope of work
b. who is responsible for supplying what
c. how the subcontractor will be reimbursed
2. the subcontractor:
a. complies with the project’s safety requirements
b. produces work of acceptable quality
c. works according to the project schedule
3. the subcontractor receives access and information on or ahead of schedule and isn’t delayed by the contractor or other subcontractors
4. regular meetings are held with the subcontractor to discuss safety, quality and environmental matters, as well as progress on the project and any delays and claims, and that minutes of these meetings are distributed to the relevant parties
5. subcontractors acknowledge the receipt of drawings and information issued to them
6. where relevant, the subcontractor supplies shop drawings in accordance with the project schedule, including allowing for obtaining the required approvals from the contractor or the client
7. communication with the subcontractor of a contractual nature is in writing (any verbal instructions should be followed up in writing)
8. only the contractor’s delegated responsible staff communicate with the subcontractor
9. action is taken as soon as it appears that the subcontractor could be in trouble
10. the subcontractor is forewarned of the contractor’s intention to back-charge them for work or services supplied by the contractor and that these charges are invoiced regularly
11. the subcontractor is paid in accordance with the contract
12. the subcontractor has suitable quality, safety, environmental and industrial relations procedures in place that comply with the project requirements
13. subcontractors don’t begin work until there’s a signed contract in place and they’ve supplied the required sureties and insurances
14. the subcontractor’s staff, equipment and their own subcontractors are approved by the contractor
15. the subcontractor’s personnel attend the contractor’s project induction
16. correspondence from the subcontractor is promptly dealt with
Implementing these simple steps will help reduce the risk of subcontractors failing on your project. Failure of subcontractors often leads to costly claims, disputes, delays, rework and possibly even accidents and could negatively impact the contractor's reputation.
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’ and this article has been adapted from these books. Both books are available from Amazon and other retail outlets)
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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