Primes and Subs: Three keys to successful construction partnerships

In 1908, William Hagerman and Frederick Buesching began The Buesching-Hagerman Company by providing masonry services in Fort Wayne, Ind. Throughout the many decades of self-performing this trade and evolving as a company, The Hagerman Group has delivered our skills as both a prime contractor and as a subcontractor. These experiences give us a lot of perspectives on what makes a good project partner, whether you’re a construction manager, general contractor, or subcontractor.

Commitment to the schedule, and to each other

On the job site, it’s critical for team members to do what they say they’re going to do and be accountable to one another. While the completion date goal of a project rarely changes, a delay on one aspect of the project can have a domino effect on other phases. Unexpected issues will always arise, but by setting a realistic schedule, understanding the impact changes have on other trades, and holding yourself accountable, you’ll set the stage for successful collaboration and a finished project.

Facilitated decision making

The earlier decisions are made, the smoother a project goes. And the details matter. For example, with masonry, decisions include not only the color of the masonry material, but also the shade of the mortar. Delayed decisions on “long lead items” can affect price, availability, and delivery.  These types of decisions take time, so it’s important to have conversations and make decisions early in the process.

Open communication

The subcontractors and the construction manager should have open conversations about what they need from each other for a successful outcome. During the early stages of the project, subcontractors can often offer insights beneficial to scope and schedule. As the project moves forward, team members should be willing to talk through challenges that arise. Both CMs and subcontractors bring expertise and perspectives that add value and can aid in finding solutions.

By thinking realistically, thinking ahead and communicating effectively, all team members can contribute to a positive project experience and a successful outcome.

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