Commercial – Subcontractor performance

Subcontractor performance evaluation template

Subcontractor performance assessment and management tips

About subcontractor performance assessment

Subcontractor performance is extremely important for projects, companies and the industries as a whole. Poor subcontractor performance obviously impacts the quality of projects and the final outcomes of assets, as well as reflecting on contractors, other subcontractors and clients.

The subcontractor performance assessment is one of the most powerful mechanisms for moving the industries forward. Assessing subcontractors on their performance ensure high standards are maintained, low standards are penalised, and that good work is rewarded with the awarding of future work.

The power of the subcontractor performance assessment and management is multi-faceted:

  • Subcontractor performance assessments first and foremost enable companies to be open and honest about the performance of other companies. This enables companies to understand where they are going wrong, what they could improve, and helps them to rectify the issues which could impact their ability to win future projects
  • Subcontractor performance assessments raise the bar of performance on every project. Without the pressure and watchful eye of someone 'scoring' you and judging your work, it's easy (but not at all inevitable) to let the quality of work slip. When everyone is being judged and scored, you try your best to avoid delivering just one bad 'egg'.
  • Subcontractor performance assessments help contractors identify patterns of performance. While one mishap or safety issue on a project is unlikely to
    raise dooming red flags, if a contractor notices a pattern of poor performance in an area it cares about or is important to project delivery, it can sway their opinions and projects. The only way to find and surface these patterns is to collect regular data and analytics through performance assessments.
  • Subcontractor performance assessments ensure that the best companies stay in business and continue to win work, and the poorly performing companies either improve, or die.

Together, these mechanisms form powerful checks and balances on subcontractors in the industries. Assessing performance isn't a checkbox or throwaway item performed at the end of a project; it's absolutely critical to the health of the contractors, subcontractors and the industries at large.

The mechanics of subcontractor performance assessments

The heartbeat of subcontractor performance assessments is the subcontractor performance assessment or review form.

This form, like the many other hundreds of forms and documents in construction and other industries, is the form which gets completed, stored and analysed in order to understand what's happening today and make more informed decisions about what 'we' do tomorrow.

Performance assessment forms vary in their length, structure and content, but they should all do the same job of allowing a contractor or subcontractor to assess the performance of a subcontractor on a number of dimensions - thoroughly and fairly.

A subcontractor evaluation form will often be referenced for future work, so make sure to include critical record keeping information for future reference:

  • The name of the subcontractor
  • The contract number being referenced
  • A brief description of contract work
  • Photos of subcontractor work (this can come in extremely handy and helps ensure fairness and less disputes around 'scoring')

Outside of these house keeping items, a subcontractor performance review can feature a number of yes/no questions or a simple scoring system.

The example you see below covers subcontractor performance at a high level. You'll notice that the assessment covers a number of criteria and that there isn't a distinct focus on a single element of performance. An assessment shouldn't be a written note or comment about one element of a subcontractors performance. It should be a holistic view of how the subcontractor performed. This helps ensures fairness, and helps point attention to area for improvement - both for the companies performing poorly and the companies performing well.

Subcontractor performance evaluation

Use and edit this subcontractor performance assessment template for free.

Subcontractor performance management tips

The key to subcontractor performance management across your portfolio of subcontractors and the hundreds of parties you engage in projects with is to be fair.

The major factor in ensuring fairness over a number of assessments is to use the same method of assessment. And this method of assessment should center on standardising your assessment form.

Using the same subcontractor performance evaluation form helps force you to assess the same criteria for every subcontractor, and standardise your data so that you can find patterns of behaviour and make more informed decisions about who you want to continue to work with.

The more contractors and industrial companies who use and maintain good assessment forms and practices, the more the industries and our projects benefit.

It's also important to involve a 'panel of judges' in the review. Getting a number of people to partake in the scoring improves the quality and accuracy of scoring. While a specific site engineer might have come into contact with one tradesman or engineer who performed badly or didn't care about safety or the environment, the project management and quality teams may have really enjoyed working with the subcontractor and seen good behaviour and performance. It's easy for one persons opinion to be quickly and easily skewed; and one persons opinion is also too small a window into the overall performance of a number of subcontractor workers.

It's equally important to manage good subcontractor performance. The idea behind assessing the performance of any kind of vendor is not that we should focus on poor work and pointing the finger, but that we should be rewarding and reinforcing good work.

It's easy to manage and assess subcontractor performance when performance was remarkably bad, but easy to forget or completely ignore when a subcontractor performs at a high level consistently - and it becomes an expectation.

Subcontractor performance management is really important to contractor and project performance. The interconnectedness of every project and sheer number of stakeholders involved in delivering an asset make performance evaluation and management absolutely critical for everyone.

subcontractor evaluation checklist template

Subcontractor Evaluation Checklist template

Record and share subcontractor performance for the benefit of all with this reliable checklist.
See the template →
Contractor performance evaluation template

Contractor Performance Evaluation template

Evaluate and share contractor performance in a standardised and fair manner.
See the template →

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About Lance Hodgson

Lance is VP of Marketing at Sitemate. His aim is to bring awareness to a brighter future for the Built World where industrial workers and companies work smarter.

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