Construction companies usually hire contractors to optimize project costs and manage in-house teams and subcontractors. Not only that, but construction firms also equip their project management team with construction business software to track their workforce and resource utilization.
Working with a contractor on construction projects enhances your team’s performance. It lets your employees learn new techniques with equipment from the experts. You also create a network with construction professionals that helps establish lasting relationships.
This article will tell you more about the role of contractors in construction projects. We will also list 8 tips to help you work with them more efficiently and achieve better outcomes. So let’s dive in!
Who are the contractors in the construction industry?
If you are new in the construction industry, you will hear different definitions of contractors. A contractor is a person who manages a construction project from planning to the closure phase.
Usually, a contractor is responsible for managing and providing the following services:
- Employs workers – Hires laborers, masons, plumbers, electricians, etc.
- Provides tools and equipment – Arrange the required machinery for construction.
- Supervises construction activities – Keeps an eye on the construction progress.
Contractors usually distribute the construction activities to subcontractors (the actual workers). But what’s the difference between these two?
Contractors holistically supervise a construction project while subcontractors work on on-hand activities. For example, you will need a contractor if you want to build or revamp a house. The contractor will hire subcontractors for column casting, placing bricks, roofing, and other tasks.
8 tips for working with construction contractors
Since construction companies simultaneously work in multiple areas, they deem it better to outsource the core construction work by hiring a contractor. If you’re planning to work with one, here are eight tips you should follow to achieve your desired results:
Do you know there are over 3 million construction businesses in the US? Some businesses provide contracting and construction services, while others provide consultancy on different aspects.
Therefore, you must thoroughly research a contractor for your construction projects. Here are the best ways to find one:
- Search online
- Look for them in the newspaper
- Ask for recommendations from other people
Once you filter some of the best contractors, check their construction portfolios to narrow down your options. Many contractors have an online portfolio that shows their previous work and clients. You can also contact the clients a contractor has previously worked with and validate their performance.
Checking the reputation of the contractors is mandatory. After all, construction projects are valuable and carry a big weight of money, time, the company’s credibility, government regulations, and workforce. So, hiring an inexperienced or bogus contractor might cost you everything and even make your company go bankrupt.
2. Interview potential contractors
You can invite the selected candidates to your company and interview them. Generally, civil engineers and construction managers conduct interview meetings with contractors to evaluate their abilities.
The interview is another important trick to observing the contractor’s nature. Like other industry workers, some contractors can also carry out tasks in a construction project illegally. Therefore, in-person meetings will keep you steer clear of this.
During the interview, you can ask the following questions to judge the contractor’s competency and reliability:
- How to make a construction project plan?
- Who were your subcontractors in the past?
- What to do in case of machinery failure?
- What steps to take in accidents?
Interviews will also allow you to discuss other construction management activities, like budget and workforce, with the contractors.
3. Be clear and open
While communicating with the contractor, be clear in your offerings. The construction situation might worsen if you don’t articulate the project requirements with the contractor.
Some contractors lack technical knowledge and want you to use easy language for understandability. Therefore, you must use simple terminology instead of jargon while documenting the contract.
4. Verify reference
You must verify a contractor if someone referred them to you for the project. Since every aspect of construction is critical and must be thoroughly taken care of, you must hire an experienced contractor.
Look for the following skills in a contractor:
- Resource management – To manage resource utilization throughout the project.
- Budget optimization – To optimize construction costs.
- Error correction – To find and correct errors to improve efficiency.
- Work distribution – To assign responsibilities to the workforce.
- Working on technology – To use construction software to reduce manual work.
That will be a big plus if your contractor is familiar with construction management software.
5. Let them be independent
Contractors work independently, so it’s better to let them work their way. But of course, you must keep tracking their progress.
Sometimes, companies rely totally on a contractor and don’t monitor their performance. As a result, when the deliverables get delayed, the clients blame the company and give bad word-of-mouth.
Always assign a project manager to your construction project to maintain a balanced relationship with the contractor. The manager will ask the contractors to submit daily progress reports. That will help you smoothly execute construction activities and complete the project on time.
6. Schedule construction activities
During the planning phase, you must involve the contractor and take their suggestions regarding budget, resources, and workforce. These factors will help you schedule construction activities more efficiently.
Contractors also share construction details according to their experience, which will help you make the master schedule. So whenever you feel things are getting behind schedule, you can contact the contractor and get their opinions.
7. Document contract
You must document everything related to the construction project and include the contractor. Documentation helps you with many things, especially if a conflict occurs and the contractor wants to withdraw from the project.
You must also share the construction document with other stakeholders like the client, construction manager, and team leaders for clarity of the project.
8. Pay full amount
Pay the contractor quickly once you receive the mutually agreed deliverables. But don’t forget to inspect each element of the construction beforehand.
Identify the issues and inform the contractor about them. After that, it’s their responsibility to fix them. Doing so will close the project on good terms, and you can contact the contractor in the future. Your team will also learn more from the contractor and subcontractors whenever there’s an opportunity.
Hiring a contractor for your construction projects is an important step. It would be best if you choose the right candidate to complete your project stress-freely. Hopefully, the above tips and tricks will help you work with your contractors more effectively.
With all boxes checked, you can retain contractors for future projects. That will save you time and, who knows, a few bucks as a professional courtesy.