A General Contractor's Relationship With His Sub-Contractors

A General Contractor's Relationship With His Sub-Contractors

If you’re considering a Denver area home remodel, a custom home, or just a room addition, one thing you will quickly learn is that there are an enormous of individual pieces that need to come together in just the right way to successfully complete your project - especially with the demanding standards required by TRC Residential.  The mechanism that makes these pieces work together is communication with everyone involved, including homeowners/clients, sub-contractors, city officials and, of course, TRC Residential team members.

Among the most crucial of these relationships is that of the general contractor and his sub-contractors. 

Like any other industry, sub-contractors compete for the attention of general contractors like TRC Residential.  When that attention turns into a working relationship, solid communication - achieving mutual understanding of each party’s expectations - is the cornerstone of effective project management.  

When out in the field one afternoon, TRC Residential’s owner, Larry Russell once shared with me an interesting point.  Having been at the helm of residential construction projects for four decades, he remembered a time when today’s real time communication wasn’t available.  In between phone calls with various sub-contractors (all while cruising Denver area highways) he shared a memory of once needing to carry a yellow legal pad full of notes - tasks and calls that would have to be made from the home office or even home itself.

These days, modern technology offers him the opportunity to be in almost constant contact with his “subs”, allowing him to communicate his needs and expectations, sometimes also listening to and adapting to theirs.  During this particular ride, I noticed that on many of these calls, the person on the other end of the line was clearly traveling as well.

Whether following up on notes collected with a yellow legal pad or today’s real-time connection on a mobile phone, recognizing that effective communication in this way is absolutely essential when completing a TRC Residential project.  Larry shared with me this thought:

“[Communication] is crucial between TRC and its subcontractors.  What is important here is not what the subcontractor communicates to TRC but, what, how and when TRC communicates to its subs.  Critical for a project's success is a clear understanding by any given sub-trade of its scope of responsibilities for a particular project and when those responsibilities are to be performed.  Additionally, it is critical that the project be ready for him when it is his time to perform his particular duties.  TRC recognizes and respects that each trade has crew to support, other general contractors to serve and administrative duties to perform in order to stay in business.  It is critical for every sub-trade that he be given ample advanced notice of the date he is to perform his work and that he has a clear understanding of his duties."

I have witnessed the effectiveness of this approach. TRC Residential projects are constructed efficiently with a high level of quality. Relationships with many of TRC’s sub-contractors have continued for years as a result of mutual respect for this process.

Ultimately, results are more than just a completed custom home or remodel.  A TRC Residential client can feel safe starting their project knowing that their general contractor knows how to effectively manage his subs and move things forward without the stresses and problems that come from poor communication.  

It is a method that not only brings value to your project, but value to your process.  And we think that’s pretty important, too.

by Colin Spencer


Read about a TRC Residential project that demonstrates the relationship between the General and his Subs: Click here.