Construction Industry

Best Practices Build Strong Working Relationships

Best Practices Build Strong Working Relationships

The following content has been contributed by Ed Haege, Director and Product Manager of ONETEAM® at The Blue Book Building & Construction Network®.

What is a “best practice”?

A “best practice” is a methodology that, through knowledge and experience, reliably leads to a desired result.

How can best practices help my company?

In the construction field, a commitment to maintaining best practices during the bidding and construction phases will help ensure repeated success for both the General Contractor and subcontractor. Consistently employing effective protocols will establish a discipline that will foster confidence amongst the team. This will create strong and long-lasting relationships.

How do I start?

For the General Contractor, it all starts with building and communicating with the right team. Targeting bid invitations to subcontractors that are qualified to perform the work specified and providing them with detailed bidding and project information will result in more responses and better engagement. The plan room should be an effortless experience for subs. Project files – plans, specifications, and addenda – should be separated, labeled, and made keyword searchable so subs can quickly find the information they need to produce a quality bid. After all bids have been submitted and the awarded GC has been announced, the GC should share that information with their subs – win or lose. GCs that communicate post bid information with their subs enhance their reputation, which will lead to more responses on all their projects.

construction teamwork

During the time-sensitive bidding phase, subs need to quickly respond to a GC’s bid invitation (bidding or not bidding) and a request for information when collaborating. The GC regards the sub as an expert in their trade and relies on their knowledge and experience to propose the most innovative and cost-effective ways to bid the project. The sub’s response should be immediate, detailed, and decisive. When submitting a bid, the sub needs to provide context with their numbers. This will convey to the GC that they fully understand the project’s scope, which may actually help them beat the lowest bidder.

After the GC and their team of awarded subs win the job, best practices by both must be carried over to the jobsite. The GC needs to create and maintain an environment where their subs can accomplish their work efficiently and effectively. The site superintendent should provide a clean and ready jobsite and schedule subs with adequate lead times. As a leader, they need to be available, listen attentively, and communicate clearly with a consistent message. They should also document all activities and conversations to protect the interests of all team members. Good site superintendents will recognize and express their appreciation for a job well done by the sub. This will always motivate the sub to perform at a high level to help deliver a successful project.

On the jobsite, the sub should assign a foreman that’s compatible with the GC’s site superintendent to maintain a positive working relationship. Reliability is essential. Subs need to start and complete their work on-time to keep the project on schedule and be considerate of subs in other trades around them to avoid slowing or stopping construction. This is best achieved by conducting morning meetings to review workflow and safety procedures to make sure everyone is on the same page. Finally, at the end of construction, address and resolve punch-list items quickly and correctly to help the GC close out the project.

Together Everyone Achieves More

When used as an acronym, the word “Team” can stand for Together Everyone Achieves More. The essential skills and attributes needed to build strong relationships:

  • communicate quickly and clearly
  • listen carefully and respectfully
  • maintain a positive attitude
  • be dependable and accountable

When the entire team consistently employs the agreed upon best practices it improves the quality of everyone’s work. This will lead to recurring success.   

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