The job of a project manager is one of the most complicated roles in the commercial construction industry. Coordinating projects, monitoring employees, and juggling vendors are just a few of the many tasks required to keep things on schedule. With so many moving pieces, occasional mistakes are somewhat inevitable. But when those mistakes lead to project delays and unexpected costs, it can be bad news for subcontractors, general contractors, and their clients.
Fortunately, through experience and best practices, subcontractors can partner with general contractors to minimize mistakes and manage costs. Below are some tips all subcontractors and general contractors can use to keep projects on schedule.
Create A Master Schedule
When it comes to delivering a commercial construction project on time, the most important tool is a master schedule. General contractors will usually create and own the schedule, which separates the project’s components into multiple phases. Each phase can then be further broken down into activities with start times and target completion dates. Each activity should be assigned to an owner, whether it be a subcontractor, general contractor, or supplier.
During the creation of the master schedule, subcontractors should partner with general contractors to provide accurate estimates on completion times for individual activities. Accurate time estimates are the key to keeping a master schedule on track.
Thoroughly Review Project Specifications
The first step to keeping projects on track is ensuring all parties know what to expect. General contractors should keep all subcontractors in the loop on project specifications. Pre-bid and post-bid meetings are good ways to keep everyone on the same page. If there are changes to projects, the sooner general contractors can inform subcontractors, the better change all teams can work together to prevent any significant delays.
A good commercial construction subcontractor must take the time to thoroughly review all project documentation before beginning the work. This could mean holding multiple internal meetings to ensure all workers are clear on what to expect. Changes always occur, so subcontractors need to be prepared and agile in their approach. Subcontractors can also draw from historical experience to estimate how long a particular project might take and provide accurate estimates to the general contractor. Subcontractors should also ask for clarification on any project-related item that isn’t clear.
Hire Reliable Subcontractors
General contractors often put their reputations on the line when selecting subcontractors to fulfill specific aspects of a project. The experience and reliability of a commercial construction subcontractor can often make or break a project timeline. As a result, establishing a network of reliable subcontractors is a good way to prevent commercial construction project delays.
While many project bids ultimately come down to pricing, it’s always important to consider a subcontractor’s track record, references, and safety standards in order to be sure you’re choosing a reliable partner. You should also verify that a subcontractor has adequate staffing and adequate equipment to get the job done on time.
Draft Backup Plans
No matter how well you plan a commercial construction project, you’ll most certainly encounter hurdles along the way. General contractors and subcontractors should always work together to try to identify risks and predict potential issues that could derail your schedule. By recognizing what could go wrong, you’ll be able to create contingency plans that can help mitigate the risk. While nobody wants a delay, having a backup plan can help you minimize the damage. Whether it’s scheduling overtime to catch-up, or booking additional machinery to increase productivity, contingency plans are often necessary to get your commercial construction project back on schedule.
Measure Your Progress
All parties involved in a commercial construction project should be constantly measuring their progress against expectations. If an activity takes too much or too little time to complete, it’s important to investigate the reason why. This will not only help you uncover issues but will also help you to improve the way you forecast completion times for future commercial construction projects. By partnering with general contractors to provide updates and review daily reports, you can work together to figure out process inefficiencies and keep everything moving as planned.
Communication is the foundation for a strong relationship between subcontractors and general contractors. Subcontractors should provide frequent project updates and always notify general contractors of potential project delays. The last thing a subcontractor wants is to damage the relationship between a general contractor and a client due to an unexpected project delay that wasn’t communicated or a disruption that could have been avoided. Subcontractors should work with general contractors to determine the manner and the cadence in which daily project updates are communicated and documented.
While project delays do occur in the commercial construction industry, subcontractors and general contractors can work together to minimize the disruption. If your firm is looking for a commercial construction subcontractor with over 30 years of experience and a reputation for reliability, contact Unique Building Group today.