Meeting Deadlines with GC's

3 Replies

Hi there, I'm wondering if anyone has some input on how you manage deadlines/construction delays when working with a GC or even direct with subs to rehab a property. I'm living in the Denver area and as we enter the winter season (my first full winter season here), I'm curious if there are typically more construction delays during this time of year?

To stem off that question, is there certain language that you use in your contract that manages timeline, un-worked days, etc. I'm in the AEC industry so I'm fully aware there are unforeseen delays, and a GC will almost have a percentage of their total bid set aside for contingencies.

Any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks!

@Harrison Kliegl I use Builder Trend to manage all my projects and subs its an amazing program and hands down makes life so so much easier. With that said here in Denver the winter can absolutely slow things down. For instance you can't pour concrete in freezing temps and if its snowing no chance will a roofing or siding crew be out working. Same with landscaping. 

In our contracts we talk about penalizations for running past deadlines of $X amount per day or week. We always give leniency in the timeline so they have plenty of time to complete projects as long as they're on task and showing up. Again Builder Trend is what helps with this if we have framing blocked off for 2 weeks and I show up end of week1 and not much has been done we address right there and either fire and move to plan B or work it out but we don't let the schedule get pushed behind. Pushing off the schedule means screwing up other contractors schedules so now everything gets pushed behind big time. Its a chain reaction that ends up in lost money and disorganization. The number one thing that has killed my projects time wise is contractors not being held accountable with the timeline. Now tih builder trend life is easier but never perfect.

Hope that helps! 

For my winter projects, I add 10% to my timeline to external work and schedule in throughout the entire project instead of sequencing it toward one end. The good contractors know how to work around the winter weather and will bust their butts to get things done on time. It all boils down to how you put your project plan together. Have you plan ready for best case / worst case / most likely in your hip pocket when you schedule your contractors.

Sometimes, I will build in language to my contracts for a penalty for late delivery as well as a premium for early delivery. When I set my budget, I always add my contingency, which could be used for the early project delivery payment. The trick here is managing scope changes. If anything changes, it will require you revisit the timelines and any associated early / late payments. Do it in writing.

Structure your payments to reward completed work. I won't work with contractors that want to be paid on a regular time interval. Document completed work with descriptions and pictures. Also consider having a lien waiver for each payment so that you can consider that piece of work "done". I have one contractor that I won't pay anything until he shows up and finishes at least one day of work. He's great when he's there, but not great about showing up if I don't see work complete before the first check hits his pocket.

I like working with a GC, because they have the existing relationship with the subs and know who they can trust to finish on time. Yes, you'll pay a little more than working with the subs directly, but the GC will take care of the contingency in the budget & timeline.

Overall, the best tool is constant communication with your contractors. Everything is in writing with clear expectations for who's doing the work, with what materials, on what timeline and any permits that need to be obtained. The worst words you can hear are "I thought you meant..." Make time to be on site, without being in the way, and check in at expected times. Setting a repeatable cadence with your contractors will give you both a better understanding of how to work well together.

@Harrison Kliegl  

I'll direct message you privately. I run a women's investing group (Denver Women Invest) and we had a speaker on last night that spoke directly to this point, and it was super helpful.