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Step-by-step guide to managing subcontractors effectively

Posted by Gary Plant on Oct 5, 2016 10:30:00 AM

How to manage subcontractors effectively

With big projects, it’s necessary for you to look for extra help, but with it comes extra responsibilities. As a contract manager, you need to manage the project which involves planning, coordination, while remaining in control of the various tasks that take place to complete the project, which can be a lot to handle, on top of daily duties.

If you’re entering into the process of outsourcing part of your project to a subcontractor, there are many details that you need to consider to keep the job on track. So that you don’t run into any unexpected problems, here’s our step-by-step guide to managing subcontractors effectively:

Assess capability

Firstly, can the subcontractor that you’re considering working with actually carry out the job at hand? Do they have the capability to tick every box that you need them to? And have they proven this elsewhere?

Finding the right subcontractor can be a difficult task – especially one that meets the standards of your client, and the industry. Every subcontractor must be authorised by the relevant industry body to carry out the work that they specialise in, not only to give you peace of mind, but also for legal reasons.

By seeking information – such as compliance with industry regulations which verifies that a subcontractor can do what they have signed up for, you can be confident they will fulfil your tasks and bring value to the client.

Define responsibilities

This can be a misconception regarding the process of subcontracting. Sometimes, people believe that if they outsource, or delegate a task, it has stopped being their problem, and therefore their responsibility. This is not the case.

Before signing any agreement with your subcontractor, you must define exactly what your responsibilities and deliveries are to them, and then you must have them define theirs in return.

Even with these agreements in place as part of the contract you hold between yourself and the subcontractor, you must still monitor the project and ensure that everything is running in a timely manner, and in line with the standards that you expect.

Appoint single point of contact

The best way to work successfully with your subcontractor is to have one single point of contact for each project. One from your organisation (or you as the contract manager) and one from the subcontractor. This will help to keep the lines of communication open, and reduce the chance of any misunderstandings from either party.

Try to look at working with subcontractors as a partnership, you’re helping them, and they’re helping you. So ensure that while they provide you complete transparency by sharing all relevant data with you regarding your project, you should give them as much relevant information in return with regards to potential problems, or future plans.

Developing a positive working relationship with your subcontractors could be a great help to you with future projects.

Implement KPIs

While this is a partnership, you still have a job that needs to be done, and your client is expecting a high standard from you. To ensure that this is achieved, and to keep the project on the right track, implement key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor outcomes, or project milestones on an ongoing basis.

KPIs are extremely useful for detecting any trends – good or bad – and raising the standards once processes are established. The implementation, and monitoring of KPIs should be done simply, and efficiently, and not become a burden to the subcontractors trying to complete your work.

Maintain compliance

Maintaining compliance is key to projects running smoothly, and meeting all legal regulations required. The last thing that you need is to get mid-way through a project, and find out that your subcontractor hasn’t got the right insurance or qualifications for instance. By following the steps laid out in this blog, you’re already well on your way to managing subcontractors effectively, and ensuring that they remain compliant.

For further tips, and advice on how to keep your subcontractors compliant, you should download The contractors guide to managing subcontractor compliance, which explores common industry problems you’re facing, and how you can resolve them through compliance.

Download managing your subcontractors: the self-assessment guide

Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Topics: Contractors

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