Getting Tight with Your GC

Mike Heering

February 2007

What kind of relationship do you have with your general contractors? Do you find yourself in constant turmoil with certain GCs? If so, maybe it is time you examined how you might change the dynamics in those relationships.

I believe we should always establish a good working relationship and try to do the things GCs ask us to do—providing their demands are within reason. But this may be an opportune time for us to get them to take a closer look at their role with their subcontractors.

We are all too well aware of labor shortages—most of us have firsthand experience. Well, the labor crunch has hit the general contractor just as hard. We can all remember job sites of several years ago where the norm was a superintendent, two or three assistant supers and maybe a dozen or so carpenters. Today comparable projects will have a superintendent and, if the GC is fortunate, one assistant. That’s it. GCs rely on subcontractors more than ever to take on more responsibility—more phases of work because of this management shortage.

The article on page 34 explains this in more detail.

Maybe it is time for you to try and develop a stronger relationship with generals who are willing to work with you, generals who will listen to your needs. Your goal should be to become their subcontractor of choice. Listen to them, and see if their needs fit with your portfolio. It might involve changes you never thought of before, thinking outside of the box. But in the end it could offer you a new phase of work that will solidify a long-term relationship with your general contractor of choice.