Selecting the appropriate trade partners and even determining which trades should be partners is critical in determining the outcome of a project.  Having the contract set up a certain way can dictate the attitude and collaboration of trade partners. The contract can uphold certain standards, and if trade partners do not perform per the contract, the result can be a lost job. Many in the construction industry prefer to see this type of clause in a contract.  Typically, this clause will be found in an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract.  These terms advocate for trade partners that have been well vetted out and are excited and ready to be team players.  It is a huge benefit to meet potential trade partners and understand their personalities, experience with lean and IPD, and working attitude.  Who wouldn’t want to be able to pick who they work with?

The experience of the general contractor, in particular, the onsite superintendent, will be the main indicating factor of the success of the project as they can be the champion of utilizing pull planning, coordinating with all trades, and the owner.  If ownership utilizes a joint venture with two general contractors, it needs to be established upfront who will be the main leading superintendent — the entire team will need to buy into this decision.  This person should be experienced and understand what their responsibilities will be.

Recognizing how many and what qualities a good trade partner possess is also very important. How much value will each trade bring to the team?  Do they plan to be available for every Big Room meeting?  Are they able to lead a pull plan and help guide the team to make critical decisions?  Is it necessary to have ten partners or four?  Total job contract value, the scope of work size, and lean and IPD experience are all factors that can help determine partner selection.  At a minimum, having the general contractor, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design-build, and drywall contractors as partners is an opportunity for success.  At least one or more of the partners should have enough IPD experience to train and help lead the team.  As long as the team has a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and remains engaged with good project initiatives, the team can succeed.

Do you think that team selection can affect the outcome of a project? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Natasha Schnaitmann

    Project Manager

    As a Project Manager with Southland’s Southwest division, Natasha Schnaitmann is responsible for supporting both field labor and client relations in order to plan and deliver quality projects safely, on time, and within budget. Her experience spans across a variety of markets, including healthcare, casinos, high rises, tenant improvements, and parking garages.

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