"I mean, it's not like they actually work for us". And true, subcontractors are not an official part of your construction firm. Given how many different ones that you may work with over the course of your professional lifetime, it's easy to be dismissive of their work and take their contributions to a project for granted.
Except that subcontractors play a vital role in construction projects, now more than ever. In addition to doing more project work for extended periods of time, subcontractors are now finding themselves filling "diplomatic" roles formerly more commonly held by a GC, such as answering clients' questions about work in progress. So a superintendent wants his or her subcontractor to not only be paid (although that's very important), but to feel like a valued member of Team Project, and one who can be counted on for reliably great work in the future. Below are some tips for keeping the road that general contractors and subcontractors both travel on as smooth as possible.
CommunicationsEvery aspect of communicating with a subcontractor is important here, from making sure that subcontractors fully understands the aspects of their part of the project, to how and when payment will be made, to site protocols on everything from safety to sexual harassment reporting. And because many subcontractors have employees who do not speak English as a first language, firms should consider more universal picture signage on site, as well as warning signs and notices in Spanish, Portuguese, and French as well.
Be Transparent About Hiring PracticesMany general contractors will use a particular subcontracting group again and again. What's the secret to these great working relationships? It's not so much chemistry as it is transparency. The general contractor should be upfront about what is wanted from a subcontracting firm in term of work standards, materials, etc. A GC who is reasonable and flexible will find that subcontracting firms are eager to return, also. They should be clear with their general contractor and subcontractor agreements.
A True PartnershipNothing guarantees good work like "pride of place". Rather than treat subcontractors like temporary, disposable workers, they should be made to feel like real partners on every aspect of a project, including reporting. And with Raken's Super Daily feature, foremen and subcontractors can use Raken's digital format to turn diverse information into a seamless, real-time collaboration that appears on a single report. Project superintendents don't have to worry about delays in receiving needed data, and subcontractors don't have to incur added expenses in producing this information. While Special Daily alone won’t create the perfect subcontractor partnership between them and the firm, it’s an important tool that can lead towards effective working relationships that can last for years.