A subcontractor is an organization that has a particular specialty to perform a critical element of a construction project. Usually, all the hired workers at this type of organization have the ability to perform the technical aspect of their specialty. See Exhibit 16-1 for the subcontractor's flow chart.
At one time, contractors performed most of the work that was required for a project. This included electrical work, mechanical work, and plumbing work as well as the basic elements of the project. However, by proceeding on this basis, the contractor not only had to maintain a staff of these specialty persons but these hired workers had to be extremely skilled. This was a costly proposition, especially if only limited work was available. As a result, specialty subcontractors evolved as a substitute for the contractors' own skilled work force. Here the contractor could choose from a number of subcontractors and obtain a competitive price with skilled workers, as required for a project. It should be noted the subcontractors' work constitutes approximately 80 to 90% of the total cost of the project. A typical subcontractor organization is noted in Exhibit 16-2.
As you can see in Exhibit 16-2, the subcontractor has to deal with secondary and tertiary fabricators and suppliers. Therefore, strong oversight by the project manager (PM) is required because of the number of entities involved with the subcontractor's work.
The number of subcontractors has expanded over the years as projects have become more sophisticated. Some of the more common types of subcontractors are indicated in Exhibit 16-3.
Subcontractor and bidding-flow chart.
9. Elevators (and other conveying systems)
14. Flooring (i.e., carpet, hardwood, Vinyl Tile [VT])
21. Stone work
22. Communications and data
25. Pile work
30. Ornamental metal
31. Hazardous material removers
34. Site work
35. Site utilities
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.