image of a construction subcontractor worker on site

Construction projects are complex by nature and tend to involve a lot of subcontractors; this can be challenging for construction managers, who are responsible for managing the entire project while maintaining quality standards.

Managing subcontractors in construction projects can be a challenge, especially when it comes to obtaining accurate performance and progress data. Construction managers must juggle multiple contractors, monitor their work continuously, guarantee timely completion and meet quality requirements.

As a consequence, managing subcontractor progress and performance can be an arduous task that necessitates frequent communication, timely reporting, and precise recordkeeping. Thus, construction managers must have the ability to rapidly access pertinent data in order to make crucial decisions and guarantee the completion of projects on time and within budget.

In this article, we explore the use of subcontractor construction checklists for managing complex construction projects, the need for digitising them, and the value of digital checklists in construction projects.

What are subcontractor construction checklists? Why are they needed?

Subcontractor construction checklists are a list of tasks and activities that are performed by subcontractors. They’re often used by site managers and project managers when they manage their projects with the help of subcontractors.

Subcontractor construction checklists provide an overview of all the work that needs to be done on a project and help coordinate efforts between different trades. These checklists help identify any issues or problems before they become major problems, which saves time, money, and effort.

In construction management, subcontractor checklists are a series of standardised documents that refer to the work, responsibilities and requirements of each subcontractor on a project. They can be used by all parties involved in construction projects, including:

  • Construction managers
  • Designers and architects
  • Subcontractors
  • Site inspection teams, auditors, and others working on the site

The purpose of subcontractor checklists is to ensure that all parties involved in construction projects are on the same page. It provides a detailed breakdown of the work required by each subcontractor and ensures that every item is completed. The checklist contains all the information needed to be able to execute tasks efficiently, safely, and effectively. It consists of checklists for different stages such as:

  • Site preparations/construction/completion
  • Job planning/organisation
  • Materials management
  • Risk assessment and control

The importance of subcontractor checklists in construction projects

Subcontractor checklists are an important tool in construction projects as they help construction managers to track subcontractor’s performance and progress, ensuring that the work is done on time and to the required standard. They provide a clear and concise way of keeping track of subcontractor’s responsibilities and progress, and provide a means of communication between the construction manager and subcontractor. The checklists also help construction managers to identify potential issues and make adjustments as necessary to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

Additionally, checklists can be used as an auditing tool to check compliance with safety, quality and regulatory standards, and to verify that all work has been completed according to the project requirements. Overall, subcontractor checklists are an essential tool for construction managers to effectively manage subcontractors, ensuring that the project is completed on time and to the required standard. Subcontractor checklists are especially useful for: 

  • Manage subcontractor teams more effectively so that there’s less guesswork and more predictability when it comes to their performance
  • Identify areas where there’s an opportunity for improvement (even if it’s not immediate).
  • Understand what went well and why so that construction managers can replicate those successes again in the future (or avoid repeating mistakes)
  • Recognize when the process or procedures need to be updated and improve them accordingly
  • Improve safety and reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries
  • Create a culture of safety and accountability

Why digitise subcontractor checklists?

Digitising subcontractor checklists in a single platform is useful for construction managers because it allows them to easily access, update, and share information with all parties involved in the project. Digital checklists can be accessed from any device with internet access and can be updated in real-time, ensuring that all parties have access to the most recent information. This can help to improve communication and coordination among teams and stakeholders, and can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and delays.

Additionally, digital checklists provide the ability to track and monitor the progress of the work, and can automatically generate reports and alerts, which can help construction managers to identify potential issues and make adjustments as necessary to keep the project on schedule and within budget. Digitising checklists also enables easy tracking of compliance with safety, quality, and regulatory standards, and verifies that all work has been completed according to the project requirements.

Even at the baseline level, digitising subcontractor management can offer construction managers the following benefits:

  • It’s easier to store and share them. When there is a physical checklist, it can be difficult or impossible to share the document with others who might need it. Paper-based forms for collecting and reviewing construction checklists are not only time-consuming to manage and cumbersome to store but also make it difficult to review checklists against one another.
  • Digitising the checklist means that all parties can have immediate access to the same version of the list at any time, no matter where they are or which device they’re using. This makes collaboration much more efficient – everyone will know exactly what information has been added since their last review of the list.
  • The use of digital forms reduces the risk of data loss as well as increases reporting speed and accuracy by automating manual processes such as data entry and validation.
  • Digital subcontractor checklists allow for advanced analytics to be built on top of the data, allowing construction managers to increase the efficiency of their projects.
  • Digitising the subcontractor checklists allows for automating process workflow such as triggering alerts and notifications when an item in the checklist is completed or delayed. This allows for faster response to actions at construction sites.
  • Construction managers can also use digital subcontractor checklists for:
  • Compliance checks, audits, and quality control. For example, if the manager needs to ensure that the subcontractor is working safely or if they want to know how many days it was taking the subcontractor to complete their tasks, such checks can be made quickly and efficiently.
  • Risk management, reporting and even managing costs. For example, if the manager has a checklist that helps monitor the contractors’ performance throughout each stage of construction it will help make sure they are meeting their obligations under their contract. This will also help reduce costs due to increased productivity or reduced wastage or rework being carried out by sub-contractors.
  • Subcontractor performance management. For example, the digital construction checklists can be integrated with the construction project management system so that it is easy for stakeholders to see if the subcontractor has completed their tasks or not. This will give them a clearer picture of how well the subcontractors are performing throughout their contracts.
  • Risk Reduction. Subcontractors who use a digital checklist at every stage of the building process can ensure that all tasks are completed correctly and that no mistakes are made.


In conclusion, there are many benefits associated with digital construction checklists. They can be used to improve the construction process by providing a clear and concise framework for subcontractors to follow. This will help ensure that all parties involved in the project are working together towards achieving their goal of delivering a quality product on time and within budget.

The ability to monitor progress at any time through an online dashboard allows managers to keep track of the subcontractors’ progress, as well as provide accurate timelines for key stages in the construction process. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal so there’s no confusion about when certain tasks need to be completed or what needs to be done next.

Digital construction checklists also provide greater visibility into spending – which means construction managers will know exactly how much money has been spent on each aspect of your project as things go along (which may result in savings down the line).

Want to start using digital subcontractor checklists in your construction projects? Start your 30-day free PlanRadar trial here.