Subcontractors in construction: 3 ways to avoid scheduling conflicts

Given the many responsibilities subs face every day, it’s easy to lose track of time. Here are quick tips to help you manage every minute more effectively.

Sean Robinson / Buildertrend

Too much to do, too little time. Scheduling as a sub is never simple.

With multiple jobs running at any given moment – and teams so lean sometimes it’s just a party of one – it’s no wonder trades run into timeline conflicts on a more regular basis than others in the industry. It’s hard to say no to work, too. You want to keep good relations with each builder you work with, and they ultimately decide a project’s schedule. As a subcontractor, you’re one piece (albeit a very important one) to the bigger picture of any project.

Even when you try your hardest to make sure things don’t overlap, the inevitable happens. Weather delays. Rework. A client pivots direction causing delays. Even the most well-thought-out schedules aren’t set in stone. They shift and swivel as the job evolves.

Subcontractors in construction aren’t helpless though. There are tactics they can employ to avoid time conflicts. Here are three you can put into action today.

1) Collaborate with your contractors

Your builders might be the boss of the projects you work, but you’re still the boss of your subcontractor business. So, it’s time to talk. Boss to boss.

Communication is the key to avoiding many of construction’s biggest conflicts, including scheduling overlap. If delays on one job cause things to overlap with another project, don’t just run your resources thin or try to make the impossible happen. Talk with each contractor to see if there is flexibility. Together, you can discuss the issue before it snowballs and causes either build to miss deadline.

From the beginning, you might want to include a contingency plan in your contract. Outline what should happen if delays that you’re not at fault for occur and it causes conflict with other jobs. Being transparent at the very start can go a long way in mitigating and resolving overlap.

The best way to collaborate with contractors is through construction project management software like Buildertrend. Within this system, builders can create a portal for you to use with tools that centralize communication. All that back-and-forth is recorded, so it’s not a game of he-said-she-said. Documents like contracts can be stored, too.

2) Digitize scheduling

Scheduling is the cornerstone of any successful project. So, what does that look like for your team? Is it spreadsheets? Dates jotted down in a notebook? Maybe it’s all just kept in your head?

For far too long, the construction industry lacked the tools to schedule smarter, not harder. Then construction tech changed everything.

With Buildertrend, your contractors are saving hours job planning by creating timelines through software. These schedules adjust and account for delays, can be whipped up in minutes through templates and are easily shareable with all players on a given project. That last part is where you – the sub – come in.

From the Subcontractor Portal, builders can share a full project schedule with you. This allows you to better plan ahead and know exactly when you’re needed … sometimes months in advance. The sooner they share this information with you, the better.

If you have other team members needed on the job site, they can view this information, too. Contractors can even choose to notify you when delays or changes happen.

3) Use your schedules for more than just scheduling

Remember what we said about software scheduling being smarter than the old way of mapping out jobs? Well, it goes deeper than just its ease of shareability.

Much of that collaboration we discussed earlier can happen in the Buildertrend Schedule feature. First, contractors can add to-do’s on schedule tasks assigned to you. That takes the guesswork out of what’s needed from one day to the next. Go down your punch list, complete all the items and impress your builders. It’s an easy formula for success.

Next, you can add updates in the form of daily logs related to a scheduled task, too. This gives your builders greater visibility into what was accomplished, any existing roadblocks and allows them to easily communicate progress to the client. Add photos or videos to give further detail and literally show off your great work.

All this can be done right in the Subcontractor Portal from the Buildertrend app on your phone or mobile device. Now you’re not running back to the office to double check what’s got to get done or communicate what has been done. It’s right in the palm of your hand on the job site.

Put scheduling conflicts behind you with the Subcontractor Portal

 It’s time to turn conflicts into collaboration.

When you start using the Subcontractor Portal and Buildertrend’s Schedule tool, you’ll be more equipped to communicate and plan ahead. Timeline overlaps will become a thing of the past.

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