Tips for Dealing with Subcontractors

With so many people and moving parts involved in a construction project, a single problem can derail an entire project. From construction companies to contractors and subcontractors, a number of different entities have an obligation to act in good faith and complete the job they’ve agreed to do in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, disputes happen all the time, leading to delayed jobs and potential litigation between parties. One common issue that arises is when subcontractors cannot complete the job they are assigned on time. In an ideal scenario, subcontractors tell you the truth about their ability to do the work, arrive at the construction site on time every day, and complete the job to the highest standard – saving general contractors money and stress.

But this is the real world and this isn’t always the case.

At Millin & Millin, we know that contractual issues can arise with any construction project. That’s why we are committed to helping represent general contractors and construction companies who have met construction disputes. Our team of  insurance claim lawyers has in-depth knowledge about the construction industry and is ready to help you today.

One of the most important things to remember during the initial stages of a construction project is the value of communication and setting those expectations with contractors and subcontractors from day one. This ensures that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, as well as deadlines.

Some additional tips for dealing with subcontractors include:

Prequalify Every Subcontractor Before Hiring

Before asking for a bid from a single subcontractor, make sure you put in the work and prequalify them before hiring. Look at their past work and make sure they can handle a project of your size and see if they have a history of completing their work on time.

You can also talk to other general contractors about the work they’ve done and what they may have heard said about the subcontractor. If a subcontractor you’ve worked with in the past asks why they didn’t get the job, be honest and explain your reasoning.

Make Sure Everything is in the Contract

Once you’ve decided who will take the subcontracting job, it’s time to draft up a contract. Like all contracts, this legally binds the subcontractor to the job as well as other specified provisions. Along with containing the roles and responsibilities of the subcontractor, the contract should also outline all expectations and specifics of the project and work. Some other common things to cover in a contract include:

  • Your rights as a general contractor to supplement work.
  • Rights to suspend or terminate contract based on subcontractor’s performance.
  • Right for reimbursement for any unreasonable costs during the project.

It’s also vital to remember that for most contracts, you are required to inform the subcontractor with a written notice of default, as well as a timeline for fixing the problem before you can supplement the work. Make sure to go over every detail of the contract before signing to ensure that all parties are aware of all aspects of the agreement.

If you need guidance writing up a contract, your expert legal team at Millin & Millin can help you develop a solid contract.

Know What Trouble Looks Like

Subcontractors may not always come to you when they begin facing problems or experiencing difficulties on a project. That’s why general contractors should be aware of signs of trouble on a site.

You should monitor your subcontractors’ work and talk with them often (if possible on a daily basis) about their progress. Some common signs that your subcontractor could be running into problems include falling behind schedule, a sudden decrease in construction workers, worsening morale among workers, and missed or delayed payments from subcontractors to suppliers.

If you begin to see any of these warning signs, don’t hesitate to bring them up with your subcontractor immediately, even if the project appears to be going well. Maintaining an open environment where subcontractors feel the freedom to talk to you about problems is essential for avoiding any problems down the road.

Also, holding regular meetings is a great way to keep everyone in the loop on the status of the project and give subcontractors an opportunity to talk about any concerns or problems they are facing.

Don’t let a construction dispute disrupt your project. Contact your insurance claim lawyers at Millin & Millin for the protection and legal guidance you need.

Unfortunately, disputes still happen on construction sites every day, and when they do, it’s important to be prepared and ready to protect yourself and your project.

The bad faith construction lawyers at Millin & Millin are experienced in handling construction disputes of all kinds. If you need to pursue legal action against a subcontractor who did not act in good faith, contact us today at (956) 631-5600 and schedule a free consultation.