Just because your subcontractors have the prefix “sub” in their job title doesn’t mean they have to be treated as subordinates! The stronger the bond between a contractor and their subcontractors, the greater the chance of a project succeeding. The first step to improving this relationship is to ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times throughout the entire project timeline. That means sharing your data, working to integrate subcontractors into your existing systems, and maintaining an open door policy that encourages questions and actively combats the inefficiencies related to subcontractor uncertainty.
In this article, a Jacksonville construction attorney will discuss three reasons why contractors need to provide their subcontractors with access to project data. When everyone is privy to the same information, it becomes possible to streamline workflows and provide the support subcontractors need to excel. This leads to superior project outcomes, increased opportunities for long-term client acquisition, and the accumulation of business-critical project data.
1. Managing Risk
There are many reasons why subcontractors may need access to project data. Data-driven decisions trump guesses in every instance, and long-term data trends can reveal significant things to consider when the time comes to make important decisions, especially when it comes to developing risk management strategies. There’s no eluding the fact that disputes are going to transpire during construction projects. Typically, these disagreements are hashed out quickly and the structure is unaffected. However, in some cases, claims against the quality of work may arise after construction has already been completed. When this happens, the owner will cast a scrutinizing eye on the contractor, who will then transfer the scrutiny to their subcontractors. Subcontractors can review their work more easily with access to project data, which means they can determine whether or not they were at fault with reliable evidence to support the discovery.
As Construction Business Owner notes, “Owning the data that details exactly what work was done and what conversations took place around it gives subcontractors the ability to go back and justify their decisions, and those justifications are essential for mitigating the risk of liabilities around the issues in question.” As a contractor, you can benefit from heightened subcontractor accountability while your subcontractors get the benefit of the doubt and the chance to protect their bottom line.
2. The Opportunity for Success
Subcontractors want to safeguard their profits, mitigate risks, and prove their worth. Data can be leveraged to satisfy all of these desires. Data harvested from the design, planning, and construction phase of a project tell a detailed story about every subcontractor employed to contribute provisions of labor or materials. Rich data sets not only help subcontractors make informed decisions during an active project, they also serve as a reference for subcontractors that want to utilize past successes to assist them with new projects.
Contractors who want to put together competitive bids can also benefit from sharing their data with subcontractors. As projects continue to grow in size, scope, and complexity, subcontractors must be given the necessary information to price their work correctly; otherwise, the bid will be doomed for failure. Contractors have many options for providing access to data, but the relationship between the contractor and subcontractor will likely dictate how this process is handled. As a contractor, if you decide to provide access to your data, ensure that it is being put to good use. Subcontractors who are given this privilege and still fail may not be the best option for future projects.
3. Safeguarding Profits
Of course, at the end of the day, every contractor’s main concern is their bottom line, and subcontractors are no different. As we mentioned previously, subcontractors can only fund their teams properly if they have access to important historical data. This data is critical for forming accurate bids. Inaccurate bids can lead to worker shortages and delayed projects for subcontractors, which can substantially hinder the overall progress of a project. When a subcontractor’s workers are forced to contribute more work than originally anticipated, it can lead to reduced profits for subcontractors.
For example, if a roofing contractor was being considered to complete a roof for a commercial office building, they would likely use historical data from similar projects as a reference to prepare their bid. However, if unfamiliar techniques or materials were later introduced to bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion, the original bid may no longer be valid. If the contract between a contractor and a subcontractor fails to address the scope of acceptable change orders, the subcontractor could be put at a significant disadvantage.
Here’s where things get interesting: If the subcontractor had access to reliable historical data, they may have been able to foresee the shift in building trends that resulted in the use of additional building techniques and materials. Knowing this, they would be able to consult a Jacksonville construction attorney to revise their contract accordingly before signing on the dotted line. For contractors, this improves the relationship with subcontractors at what could account for a zero-percent cost increase (if no changes are needed part way through a project).
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.