- Posted by Fayez Moussa
- On 22/02/2021
General contractors depend on subcontractors to provide specialised expertise and help them save time on major construction projects. Partnering with reputable subcontractors in Australia increases your company’s efficiency and keeps it profitable. However, subcontractors can also throw your business into chaos if they’re not fully briefed of their responsibilities and the project’s deliverables. To prevent this from happening, we’ve compiled some useful tips for helping subcontractors understand their roles in a project.
Set expectations for the job
The first thing you need to do is clarify the scope of the subcontractor’s work and the standard of service you expect from them. Don’t assume that subcontractors will instantly know what to do once they’re assigned a job. Drill down into the specifics of the project, the tasks required to complete deliverables, and the people in charge of each task.
Drafting a contract specifying all your requirements from subcontractors is vital in enforcing accountability and making sure subcontractors acknowledge their responsibilities. Here are the most essential elements to incorporate in your subcontractor’s contract:
- Scope of services – a general description of the nature of the subcontractor’s role in the project (e.g. concrete piling, HVAC installation, plumbing rough-in, painting, and so on)
- Subcontractor’s responsibilities – such as communicating with general contractors, managing technicians, adhering to site safety procedures, maintaining equipment, and promptly reporting safety hazards and incidents
- Details of deliverables – includes an outline of tasks for subcontractors to fulfill, material requirements, and due dates
- Quality standards – details your requirements regarding the safety and technical specifications of a finished build
- Other important terms and conditions – like compensation, commencement and expiry dates for the agreement, and proper management of confidential information
Develop a detailed schedule
Job schedules are crucial for outlining the project’s scope and showing subcontractors how they fit into the project. Schedules should specify where subcontractors need to be and what their weekly responsibilities are. For instance, one week of an electrical subcontractor’s schedule may focus on installing electric boxes, cables, and outlets for a large construction project.
Whatever responsibilities you’ve assigned, your schedule must reflect start and due dates for each deliverable. By doing this, subcontractors know which deliverables to prioritise and how long each task should take to provide efficient service. Additionally, you should tie deliverables to project milestones (e.g., completing foundation construction or first-floor electrical installations) to easily track job progress at every stage.
Advanced job management platforms can simplify this entire process. Using intuitive scheduling features, you can formulate a comprehensive timeline that accounts for subcontractor’s availability, location, and deliverable deadlines. All this information is then displayed on a centralised and interactive dashboard where everyone can keep track of milestones and complete deliverables.
Use compliance forms to enforce workplace safety
Subcontractors have a contractual and moral responsibility to protect the health and safety of tradies on the jobsite. Without clear guidelines on minimising workplace hazards, this responsibility can be difficult for subcontractors to meet. This is why you need a platform that comes with intuitive compliance features.
WorkBuddy helps you ensure subcontractors and their technicians are meeting workplace safety standards. For one, you can program the software to automatically prompt subcontractors to complete relevant safety checks for a job. These safety checks can be structured after the latest Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and designed as a simple checklist to streamline the entire process. If subcontractors find potential risks with working practices or conditions, WorkBuddy won’t let them start and complete a job unless the problem has been resolved. That way, you’re absolutely certain that subcontractors are fully compliant with the quality standards you’ve set for the project.
Establish clear lines of communication
Construction jobs can often get so hectic that subcontractors lose touch with project managers and miss certain job obligations. Open communication is therefore important to keeping project stakeholders on the same page. This primarily involves implementing effective communication systems for contacting subcontractors and briefing them on specific projects.
Job management platforms with subcontractor portal features are a great way to facilitate seamless communications. These portals consolidate job specifications, project updates, and schedules into one place, ensuring subcontractors have all the information they need to fulfill their contract.
What’s more, these portals give subcontractors an easy way to report job progress and voice potential issues with a build. WorkBuddy, in particular, offers an intuitive daily logging functionality that lets subcontractors record milestones, costs, estimated time remaining, and workplace incident descriptions. Daily reports, in turn, allow you to evaluate performance and monitor the progress of project deliverables to keep subcontractors accountable. The insights from these reports will enable you to identify bottlenecks so subcontractors can adjust their budgets and schedules accordingly to hit deliverables on time.
Conduct regular meetings
Weekly meetings with subcontractors allow you to follow up on job progress and discuss whether workplace standards are being met. If incidents and issues occurred on the jobsite, weekly meetings can even serve to remind subcontractors of their responsibility to ensure workplace safety.
When it comes to subcontractor management, WorkBuddy is the ultimate tool for keeping everyone on task, in sync, and safe. If you want to learn more about how WorkBuddy can support your most complex projects, request a free demo today. We’ll show you why Australian trades services businesses depend on our job management platform.