Subcontracts Part 3

March 20, 2003

Tips on managing subcontractors

1. Make team decisions.

2. Understand each other’s roles.

3. Have a conflict resolution plan in place.

4. Coordinate, coordinate, coordinate.

5. Set joint project goals.

6. Schedule the project as a team.

7. Evaluate project progress as a team on a monthly basis.

8. Never start work until the contract is signed and contract documents are in hand.

9. Select and release subs early to facilitate timely planning, submittals and shop drawings.

10. Generate a weekly subcontracts report showing subcontractors’ submittals, approvals, plus predicted and actual work on site.

11. Brainstorm the project with subs prior to construction to identify potential problem areas, and to develop contingency plans.

12. Clear up drawings errors and omissions before starting work. Plan deficiencies are the primary cause of cost overruns.

13. Develop with each sub a list of tools, materials, and workforce for the project.

14. Do an eyeball inspection of each sub’s work very early on. Poor quality control and failed inspections are a big cause of delays and cost overruns. Get prior agreement of workmanship standards to avoid rework.

15. Ask your subs for their most experienced foremen.

16. Keep subs schedule in sight and mark daily as motivator.

17. Refer to the schedule when discussing the job with subs. This gives everyone a clear picture of how their efforts contribute to timely completion.

18. Insist that subs protect their materials and work against damage.

19. Insist that your subcontractors concentrate on labor productivity.

20. Encourage subs to prefab where possible.

21. Have subs correct defective work while labor and materials are still on the job. Eliminate callbacks.

22. Know the true cause of delays on your project. Survey subs for causes of delay due to equipment, materials, labor, or lack of information.

23. If a job goes sour, get your team and your subs together to contribute ideas for getting it back on track. Work out responsibilities, reschedule, and monitor.

24. Begin punchout of subs’ work at 85-percent completion. Avoid chronic punchout delays caused by return, wait, and comeback that cause labor budget overruns and unhappy customers.

25. Develop a list of typical punch list deficiencies by each Subcontract trade. Stress need for subs to correct typical mistakes before leaving the job and thereby avoiding completion hassles.

26. Issue the same typical punch list deficiencies to subcontractors before beginning work. Make standards known well ahead of time. Avoid finish conflicts.

27. Orient all subs to your safety standards regardless of their experience.

28. Keep the jobsite clean, and insist that your subs do as well.

29. Learn new subcontractors’ methods if you haven’t worked with them before. Avoid delays caused by assuming too much and finding that things didn’t go as expected.

30. Pre-coordinate any subcontractor who is on the critical path of more than one job. Find out if the subcontractor has resources including supervision to keep all your jobs on track.

31. Work with subs to have materials clearly marked for easy checking, storage, inventory, and control.

32. Review all subcontractor monthly invoices with your superintendent for initial approval.

33. Take an aggressive approach to any delay problem. Take action--don’t wait.

34. Let the Golden Rule govern relationships. Respect subs rights, and even more, their dignity. This leads to increased self-motivation and loyalty.

35. Involve subs in solving joint problems early in each construction stage. Companies that do this report reducing average job idle time from 40 percent to 25 percent.

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