image of a construction site worker with a mobile phone

Subcontractors are key players in any construction project for many reasons. Most importantly, they help to fill the labour shortage of a typical construction firm while also offering their specialized skillsets. In other words, subcontractors play an instrumental role in ensuring that contractors are able to deliver satisfactory results to clients. Ultimately, both parties benefit from this arrangement – with construction businesses providing much-needed work and stability for subcontractors.

Licensed contractors and subcontractors need to maintain a give-and-take relationship with one another in order for everyone involved to reach their goals efficiently. The head contractor should serve as the lead, as the subcontractor’s performance will be a reflection of theirs. When managing stakeholders and site personnel, central project teams should be more attentive than ever.

One of the most important aspects of construction project management is effective subcontractor management. In order to successfully manage subcontractors, you need to have a good understanding of both the construction process and the digital tools available to help you.

Collaboration as a worksite culture

Without a doubt, teamwork is key to both meeting deadlines and avoiding setbacks throughout the construction project process. To successfully execute this, construction companies must establish an efficient work environment where in-house teams and subcontractors can comfortably collaborate with each other towards defined goals – while still celebrating milestones along the way. Freely being allowed to ask questions from peers and ask for constructive feedback allows for open communication which then establishes a positive work culture overall.

An effective construction project is built on a foundation of collaboration, transparency, and inclusivity. This attracts reputable subcontractors who can add great value to the project. By making processes straightforward, contracts well-defined and achievable, and critical project documents accessible, subcontractors have more flexibility to provide high-quality services.

If you’re looking for ways to better collaborate with your subcontractors, read on for some tips that will help you manage construction more efficiently while using their services.

Digitising subcontractor management

Subcontractor management tools help construction companies by giving them clarity and peace of mind throughout the building process. By understanding how these tools work, you’ll be able to ask better questions and get more comprehensive answers from your team.

Digital subcontractor management tools allow construction companies to streamline their workflow, improve communication and collaboration, and ultimately save time and money. By using a digital subcontractor management tool, construction companies can:

  • Manage all aspects of the construction process in one place
  • Improve communication between all project stakeholders
  • Reduce the need for paper documents
  • Save time and money

Digital subcontractor management tools are an essential part of construction management in the 21st century. By using these tools, construction companies can improve their workflow, communication, and ultimately their bottom line.

There are many digital collaboration tools available that can help construction companies manage subcontractor retention more effectively. Construction software can be used to track projects and progress, communicate with subcontractors, and manage documents. Construction management software can also help construction companies plan and budget for projects, as well as track and manage safety compliance.

Let’s take a closer look at how the right tech tools can help you oversee subcontracting services and ensure the best outcomes for every project build:

1. Schedule tasks quickly and clearly

Although subcontractors are usually from different companies or operating as sole traders, they are frequently required to work as a single team on any job site. So, if a subcontractor can’t meet the deadline or if defects are encountered, delays can cause construction projects to potentially stall or fail entirely.

Cloud-based construction team management software is equipped with a variety of functions to streamline and debug the construction project. Head contractors can drag and drop project changes, assign tasks and flag requests in real time – far more efficiently than if they were updating multiple Excel pages manually. Plus, because all data is stored in the cloud, sharing information with team members and subcontractors can be managed from a single source.

2. Prepare for, and deal with unknowns

On any construction project, two kinds of risks always exist: safety risks those we know about in advance, which we can plan for; and those that come up unexpectedly. The first type includes natural disasters and equipment failures due to known limitations. We also anticipate economic problems that could delay the delivery of supplies. The second type of risk is harder to predict. It might involve a subcontractor using materials that are different from what’s called for in the contract, or other deviations from the original plan.

Digital construction site management platforms offer project managers greater safety transparency and accessibility so that they can identify issues before they become problems. By notifying all relevant subcontractors as soon as a problem is detected, changes can be made to the project plan in order to avoid delays or going over budget.

3. Sign off, approve contracts and manage subcontractors digitally

While some construction companies are still stuck with check payments and manual signatures, more and more are adopting digital solutions to move things forward faster than ever. Today’s project management software provides a secure platform for head contractors and subcontractors to do business. They can sign off agreements and contracts using any connected devices, eliminating several unnecessary steps.  Project management software also allows all concerned parties to view the same information at the same time, so there is no confusion about what needs to be done.

This trend toward digital communication and collaboration is not just limited to construction companies. A new study has found that nearly half of all construction, infrastructure and engineering businesses and contractors in Australia are now using some form of project management software. The surveyed businesses reported that the software has helped them to better communicate with clients and partners, stay organized, and get work done more efficiently.

4. Prevent defects, manage delays and avoid unnecessary downtime

The head contractor is responsible for both their in-house crew and the subcontracted team. So, if there’s an agreement to maintain the subcontractors’ equipment and tools, that falls under the head contractor’s protection. After all, if those devices fail, it can potentially set back the entire project.

By proactive monitoring, the project manager can prevent downtime and better serve both head contractors and subcontractors. For example, through tracking machine repair reports and analyzing relevant data, they can determine which units need servicing or replacement. By doing this strategic maintenance analysis, a construction company can not only be prepared for future malfunctions but also stay updated with their progress on-site.


Digital solutions have transformed the construction industry by fostering inclusion and connectivity among construction companies. Proactively ensuring that third-party services meet all safety, quality, and business standards helps subcontractors improve their businesses.

Want to find out how PlanRadar’s construction management software can help you streamline your team and subcontractor management? Get started with a free PlanRadar product demo today.