Subcontractor Challenges by Construction Dive

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Construction Dive wrote an in-depth article about the major challenges that subcontractors deal with on the construction site.  

Most construction projects use subcontractors for specialty work.  Why would a general contractor (GC) self-perform a specialty such as fire protection when they don't have the code knowledge, design experience, or skill set necessary?  They hire a subcontractor to complete that work.  However, when GC's hire a subcontractor, they are passing along a burden to the subcontractor.  

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Oftentimes, the subcontractor needs to take responsibility for the scheduling of the project and fronting the money needed to complete the project.  In some cases, subcontractors need to front millions of dollars for a project and coordinate the scheduling with other subcontractors on the project.

According to Construction Dive, subcontractors have 4 major challenges.

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1.  Cash Flow

GC's often rely on subcontractors to front the money for materials and payroll with a "pay when paid" policy.  This puts extra strain on subcontractors, especially those without adequate cash flow.

2.  Scheduling

Subcontractors are responsible for coordinating with the other groups on a job site.  Working with other subcontractors and coordinating the schedule can be challenging when each contractor's priority is getting their own portion of the job complete. 

3.  Communication

Communication between the owner, GC, and subcontractors is difficult.  Each group's main objective is the same.  Finish the project perfectly and on time.  However, outside factors like labor shortages and scheduling mishaps provide a need for crucial conversations.

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4.  Labor Shortage

The labor shortage has been an issue for years now.  Contractors are starting to turn jobs down because they don't have a means to adequately staff the job.  It is better to not take a job then to take one you can't complete well.  The reputation tarnish of a job turned bad is not worth it.