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Does Managing MEP Subcontractors Have to Be Like Herding Cats?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, subcontractor jobs have steadily increased over the past five years. Recovering from a brief dip in popularity after the Great Recession, there are over 1 million more subcontractors today compared to a decade ago.


The industry is becoming increasingly dependent on subcontractors due to their versatility and affordability. Subcontractors offer specialized skills that help fill in on-site procedural gaps, and from an owner’s standpoint, it makes more economical sense to bring in temporary specialists than to over-hire full-time workers.


For all their utility onsite, working with subcontractors comes with a unique set of challenges. Information delivery and jobsite security become especially challenging when working with temporary laborers. Let’s unpack these subcontractor challenges to better understand why working with subcontractors doesn’t have to be a headache, and learn which technologies are helping to make jobsites more connected, secure, and efficient.


Connected jobsites

Subcontractors require a lot of information fast. You won’t necessarily have the luxury of a lasting working relationship with subcontractors, so their success is directly correlated to the efficiency of information delivery.

Trade partners must be integrated into the greater construction workflow. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing are complementary systems, so, in turn, subcontractors require a complementary platform through which they can collaborate with other trades.

This is possible through content-enabled models. When backed with trade-specific information, models deliver actionable information useful to subcontractors at any phase of a project. Part specifications, installation instructions, design plans, etc. — content-enabled models can be updated and shared on-the-fly to ensure subcontractors have the latest information. 

Content-enabled models help promote a seamless flow of information among all stakeholders. MEP contractors benefit from clash identification, part visualization, and other trade-specific data to help overcome the inherent inefficiencies of a manual process. These enhanced models deliver project information and make on-site knowledge less exclusive. 


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Download our free MEP contractor’s guide to discover the key to a successful connected and content-enabled workflow.


Streamlining Jobsite Access

In the shuffle of daily operations, it’s not uncommon for subcontractors to enter a restricted area without proper equipment or certification. General contractors need a way to ensure the safety and security of the jobsite — especially when working with unfamiliar, temporary workers.

Labor tracking software helps general contractors and safety managers overcome issues associated with jobsite access. This technology can track worker location and can be paired with an access control system to automatically restrict certain jobsite areas. This allows you to closely monitor your jobsite by restricting turnstile access to only those who meet specific criteria. In the event of unauthorized access, general contractors are alerted in real-time. 

This advanced approach to labor management ensures the right workers, with the right credentials, are in the right place at the right time. For example, if any mandatory certificates, training documents, or other necessary credentials are not present, turnstiles will automatically prevent workers from entering the jobsite. This is an automatic enforcement method — labor tracking software requires little effort to maintain or monitor, and it dramatically reduces the chances of subcontractor access breaches. 


Software for Improving Subcontractor Integration 

The above solutions amount to this one takeaway: subcontractors must be integrated into the greater construction workflow. From information delivery to labor management, jobsite connectivity is the solution to subcontractor management. 

Trimble develops construction software solutions that help streamline the construction workflow, and at the heart of Trimble’s mission for on-site efficiency is the Constructible Process. By incorporating cutting-edge technology with industry best practices, the Constructible Process helps better integrate subcontractors, improve productivity, and, best of all, optimize project efficiency without sacrificing quality.

Learn what steps you need to take to achieve a connected workflow in construction and download The MEP Contractor’s Guide to Constructibility today!