5 ways subcontractors can improve communication during the preconstruction process
”Poor communication and data cost the U.S. construction industry $31.3 billion in 2018.
PlanGridConstruction Disconnected 2018 Industry Report
Communication is a critical part of any construction project and impacts far more than just the bottom line. This is especially true during the preconstruction phase, where communication breakdowns can delay projects, cause departments to work in silos, and make budgets go awry — impacting everyone on the proverbial construction ladder. According to PlanGrid’s Construction Disconnected 2018 Industry Report, 52 percent of all construction rework globally is caused by poor data and miscommunication, costing the construction industry $31.3 billion in 2018 alone.
The main cause of project delays is poor communication among stakeholders. What’s more, good communication helps you stand out from the competition and is one of the three qualities general contractors look for in their subcontractors. To build lasting relationships with general contractors and ensure open communication at all levels during preconstruction, follow these five best practices.
Let general contractors know if you intend to bid or not
Proper communication is vital from the very beginning of a project. If you receive a bid invite from a general contractor, it’s because they see you as a quality subcontractor and are considering you for a job — and sometimes even megaprojects.
When a general contractor sends a bid invite, it’s important to communicate to them whether or not you intend to bid. Often, general contractors need a set number of subcontractors to bid on a project, so if they know you’re not bidding, they can then send additional bid invites out. If you are bidding, then the general contractor knows they can count on a bid from you and can compare it against competing bids to find the best subcontractor for the project.
Keep track of important due dates
Deadlines can dictate how a general contractor views a subcontractor. If you’re not keeping track of important dates and all of the other moving parts, then you could miss a due date, double up on a job walk, or even worse — miss a bid entirely.
Keeping your calendar up-to-date promotes stronger, longer-lasting relationships with general contractors. Missing an important due date or bid is a form of miscommunication. It never hurts to over-communicate with the general contractor. Was there a late addendum and you need more time to submit your bid? Let them know ahead of time.
Double-check details and addenda
Project details are always shifting, whether it’s a change in architecture, floor plans, or specific trades a project will need. Addenda to bids can easily get lost, especially when you’re managing dozens of bids at a time.
To make sure you’re sending the most accurate, up-to-date bid, double-check details with the general contractor and let them know that you’ve seen the addenda and are going to send a new bid. Miscommunication can cause inaccurate bids to be submitted, meaning that even if you hit the deadline, it might not be considered, or you submitted a bid that’s too low or too high.
Follow-up on submitted proposals
After you’ve submitted a bid, you probably want to know if you’ve won the job or not, right? It’s important to schedule and be on top of follow-ups after you’ve sent a proposal so that you stay top of mind for the general contractor. Follow-ups help you stand out from the competition and let you know where you stand on a proposal, allowing you to make changes to your bid if necessary and accurately track your hit rate.
Continue fostering relationships after projects are done
Construction is a handshake industry built on relationships. General contractors want to work with subcontractors they can trust to deliver high-quality work on time, and vice versa. If you work with a general contractor that you like, keep fostering the relationship even after the project has ended. Touch base with them every once in a while, message them about other projects you want to bid on, send a follow-up gift to show your appreciation, or even invite them to drinks and dinner. However you go about it, be thoughtful and give it your own personal touch.
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