The Contractor-Subcontractor Relationship

In the past decade, the construction industry has experienced an exodus of sorts in the construction workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2005 and 2015 the construction industry as a whole lost nearly 16% of its workforce. This decrease in manpower accompanied by a large increase in construction (especially in multifamily and senior housing construction), we have experienced an increase in subcontractor workload and inevitably a decrease in subcontractor availability. Subcontractors are forced to either decline work or raise costs to help manage their workload, leaving general contractors and construction managers scratching their heads. Is there a reliable solution to this ever-volatile supply and demand issue? Yes- one word- relationships.

We have found repeated success in forming long-standing business relationships with subcontractors.  As we have experienced, designers often time design in a vacuum, without understanding the cost impact of their designs; however, our subcontractors do. The Douglas Company prides itself on our ability to provide viable value engineering options that fit our clients’ needs. These options, often times arise from discussions with our subcontractors, who have the knowledge and first-hand experience with more cost-effective options that will ultimately provide the end result that our clients are looking for. So, what does this all mean as it relates to keeping costs down, keeping clients happy, and pushing our schedules to deliver a quality product ahead of schedule and under budget? Building relationships are critical in building our future.

The subcontractor workforce has decreased. The workload has increased. If we live our core values and build strong relationships with experienced subcontractors we can stay ahead of manpower shortages facing our industry and continue to contribute to the success of our clients and associates.

Peter Douglas, P.E.
The Douglas Company

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