When it comes to managing projects, it cannot be done by just one person. A construction project needs a team of people that can offer a wide range of skills and experience. The more complicated a project is, the more skills they need. It starts when an owner hires a general contractor to design, build, and manage the project. The contractor then uses subcontractors to fill out specialized roles like concreting or rebar works.
Managing subcontractors are part of a project manager’s critical responsibilities. Yes, they are not your direct employees, but they play a critical role in completing your project and leading it to success. Contractors and subcontractors must work together to deliver the project on schedule and within budget.
However, this is easier said than done. For example, let us say that when your crew gets to the job site, they need assistance to complete the work. If it is not resolved immediately, you might find yourself struggling to determine why the work was not completed on time. Worst comes to worst, it may come to a dispute, compromising the relationship between the contractor and subcontractor. Luckily, in today’s day and age, there is no better way to manage your crews and subcontractors than leveraging the power of software for construction management.
How to Manage Your Subcontractors with Technology?
Construction management software for subcontractors can help you manage the work of subcontractors and your relationship with them with powerful features that make day-to-day operations much more effortless. This technology aims to replace manual ways of managing tasks and projects with apps and mobile-based tools. When looking for software, you need to check for the following features:
Task Assignment and Management
This feature allows the lead contractor or head of the subcontracting company to assign jobs to specific employees. It also lets them get a clear view of everyone’s schedules and prevents them from scheduling overlapping activities or overtime.
Onsite Work Verification
With mobile apps or tablets, you can use your phone’s camera or geolocation features to upload photos to show the progress of a project without actually going to the site. This way, your staff in the office and the field will get access to the same updated information every time.
Users of the software can look at a digital plan or BIM model. Then they can see how the building is supposed to look and ask questions. It can also store documents on the cloud, easily accessible with just a few simple clicks.
With tools for managing subcontractor tasks, you can show that a subcontractor did a job when they did it and for how long it took. You can generate their scope’s percentage of completion (POC) and bill the correct amount for the work done. This also makes it easier to send accurate bills and builds trust between everyone involved.
Communication and Collaboration
Construction technology, like software, allows all users to talk about the project in one place and record their conversations so they can look back on them later. This allows for more accessible communication instead of waiting for emails or documents to be routed.
The Difficulty of Managing Projects by Hand
Most of the time, managing subcontractors is through the old ways of pen, paper, and spreadsheets. When subcontractors get to the job site, site managers usually give them a paper copy of the building plan and talk to them about deadlines, problems, and what they can expect. Then, they are given a certain amount of time to finish their work. Documents are routed through paper, leading to lost files or poor communication.
The construction industry is prone to delays, so technically, it is essential to have contingency plans in place to prevent this from happening. One possible factor for project delays is the lousy management of the subcontractors. For example, a concreting subcontractor can only pour the slab if the rebar subcontractor lays out the steel reinforcements. Using construction project software, you can easily track progress, check which ones are taking longer than expected, and cut down on “dead time” on the job site.
Contractor and Subcontractor Disputes
Contractors and subcontractors often need help from each other. While this is normal for teams working together, it can be minimized when appropriately managed. At least some of these problems happen because people need clear roles and what they should do. Disputes can happen less often if you use software to manage your subcontractors by keeping everyone updated on the progress.
Miscommunication and Mismanagement
A common problem in construction is when a stakeholder and the subcontractor need to talk to each other better. You can use these digital tools to prevent miscommunication by accessing the same information and documents.
Benefits of Utilizing the Powerful Features of Software for Construction
Construction software was developed with a contractor’s and a subcontractor’s needs in mind – it was created to help ease the daily management of projects to ensure that it is delivered on schedule and within budget without compromising their quality. This section lists some benefits you can realize when you harness the power of technology.
One of the most challenging things for contractors and subcontractors is to reduce risk and protect their profits. The construction industry is very volatile and highly dependent on documentation. Subcontractors need to ensure that their change orders are backed up by paperwork, and without proof, they could be subject to significant time and cost impacts. Subcontractors must also manage their resources, plan their work, give daily reports, and send in submittals. Project management software can help keep everything in the cloud, easily accessible, and stored safely.
Track Crew and Activity Time
Crew members get paid by the hour, so tracking their work time in a day is essential. However, you also need to track how long an activity is completed to ensure that the crew member is not taking longer than expected. Subcontractors can also use it to tell the general contractor about the site and any problems they usually run into. You can use data from past projects to determine why their successes or failures happened the way they did, which will help them improve their processes.
Daily Field Reports
Contractors can use software to generate their daily and field reports. They can use the critical information in the reports to make other reports that will help better protect their businesses, such as their efficiency or profitability. You can ensure that the information on time cards is correct and that the field and back office work together better.
Access to Updated Information
With software, you can keep track of all reports, like daily and cost reports. You can organize all information based on how you want it. It should help project owners and contractors to keep track of all payment records, plans, change orders, scope, schedules, costs, letters, information requests, and bids. You also need to organize all documents, reports, and meeting minutes to be armed with the information you need to make sound business decisions for the project or the organization.
A Platform for Easier Communication
Along with documentation, contractors need to talk to each other to align on how to proceed with the project. It reduces the risk of mismanagement by solving problems, clearing up misunderstandings faster, and keeping projects on schedule. Keeping essential documents that can be accessed by team members anytime and anywhere allows the contractor to stay on top of everything and avoid making significant mistakes that cost a lot of money. You will not need to look through file cabinets or mounds of paperwork.
Streamlined and Optimized Processes
Investing in top construction management software might initially seem intimidating, but the benefits can significantly outweigh the initial cost. You can optimize how you handle your project when you use software to improve and perfect your processes continuously. For example, instead of using time cards to monitor your team’s attendance, you can have them log in to the software and use a time-tracking feature. This, in turn, saves time and a lot of money in the long run.
Utilize Important Project Management Tools
Pro Crew Schedule has many powerful features with an easy-to-use interface that makes it easy for contractors and subcontractors alike to use. From crew management to time tracking, it offers easy automation that takes care of all the laborious work. Project managers can now divert their focus on the more essential parts of the project.
Subcontractors are one of your essential resources when completing construction projects. They offer the specialized skills and industry knowledge needed to finish the project. As a result, it is vital to have a clear plan for managing subcontractors to prevent miscommunications and disputes that may affect the project’s progress and profitability. Using construction management software for subcontractors can significantly streamline processes and ensure everyone has access to the necessary documents while keeping sensitive information safe.