Tishman Construction Corporation, a division of AECOM, will pilot risk management technology from New York, NY-based TradeTapp for optimizing the subcontractor qualifying process.
TradeTapp uses algorithms to analyze subcontractor performance across a variety of metrics, including backlog position, work history, average project size and adherence to schedule and budget commitments. The pilot team has identified a 33% increase in average subcontractor backlog since 2009.
In a media release announcing the pilot partnership, Mildred Claire, Tishman vice president of risk management and insurance, said subcontractor pre-qualifying is one of the company’s pressing needs from a risk management perspective.
With the addition of Tishman, TradeTapp, which was founded in February 2016, now has three AEC firms piloting the system (including New York-based Urban Atelier Group and Newark, NJ-based CM & Associates). While the algorithms are proprietary, the system promises to pull data fields from existing PDF documents, track sub status on works in progress and automate renewals. In addition to capturing and crunching historical subcontractor data, the system is also built to evaluate subs regionally against comparable peer groups.
Punch list technology providers and project management platforms are already looking to provide similar data sets for clients to evaluate subcontractor performance relative to schedule, budget, overall project volume and project cost and each other.
Technologists, however, caution against top-down approaches to subcontractor management with technology. Julian Clayton, PunchList app creator and Fieldlens vice president of customer success, told Construction Dive that sub-centric technologies need to drive efficiencies in the field, in addition to capturing accountability data, or else face major adoption hurdles.
Some GCs are using a decidedly analog approach to subcontractor qualification. Jacksonville, FL-based multifamily development GC Summit Contracting simply uses the same subcontractors over and over and provides them with enough work to keep them on Summit projects year-round.
While TradeTapp's 33% (unfortunately) sounds reasonable for an average U.S. subcontractor backlog, compliance analytics might only tell half the story on why projects are behind. The ongoing critical shortage of skilled labor is likely playing a role, including GCs continuing to bid for more work than they have workers to complete.