Subcontracts • Owner doesn’t “recognize” subcontractors They are representatives of the contractor

• Owner doesn’t “recognize” subcontractors
• They are representatives of the contractor
• Contractor must be confident they can perform
Financial strength
Labor force
Job history
Strength and skill of PM
Past work with team
Estimating ability
• Increasing the number of subcontractors on the job
reduces financial risk but increases
communication complexity
• Decision to subcontract versus self-perform is a
risk/return optimization problem
• Self-perform work has potential for greater
reward, but carries more risk
• Self-perform is less risky when you have longterm trades people and well-understood market
• Subcontracting passes risk on to
subcontractor in return for certain cost
• Subcontracting can shorten schedule if
subcontractor has access to superior
technology or resources (knowledge)
• Subcontracting can also reduce schedule
flexibility because of contractual constraint
• Must bind subcontractor to a cost and
schedule consistent with overall project
• Contractor serves as conduit for changes
and claims on behalf of the subcontractor
• Major subcontractors sometime included in
partnering team, working with government
agencies and field coordination
• Need to have hoisting, clean-up, workhours, lock-out, freight and unloading, and
labor relations issued spelled out in the
• AGC has several standard subcontract types
– Contractor/subcontractor share risk of payment
– Subcontractor takes risk of payment
– Design-build subcontract
• Subcontracts can be negotiated or
competitively bid- usually determined in
part by the owner
• Subcontractors can be asked to do value
engineering, but must be careful about bid
comparison and bid shopping
• Usually pre-qualify subcontractorsfinancial strength, certifications, bonding