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What GC’s Really Need From an Electrical Subcontractor

In the construction industry, there are projects, and then there are Projects.  The capital-P jobs are the hospital expansions, the ground-up university buildings, the downtown high-rise multi-use towers, and the high-tech manufacturing facilities.  With massive capital expenditures on the line, each of these types of projects represents big business for the General Contractor (GC) in charge of making sure the project owner gets the facility they’ve paid for, on time and on budget.

Because so many complex details are involved on projects of this size, GC’s rely heavily on trade subcontractors to join the project, get with the program, and deliver results.  And when it comes to the importance of individual trade subcontractors, no other service provider plays as critical a role on a construction project as the electrical subcontractor.

This is because electrical subcontractors deliver the final electrical design for the new facility and the safe working environment for the construction project itself.  All the tools, equipment, and machinery every other trade relies upon during construction are only as reliable as the electrical subcontractor who delivered electrical service to the job site.

Source: FSG

In other words, a safe, fully functional, and environmentally friendly construction site is made possible by the work of a solid electrical subcontractor.  On every successful project, this first job requires a measure of particular focus.

So, for high-profile projects being completed for big-name owners, the electrical subcontractor selected by the GC is of paramount importance.  With so much riding on this one decision, how do GC’s confidently select one electrical construction company over another?  What are GC’s really looking for in an electrical subcontractor?

High Standards Are Just The Beginning

A subcontractor’s final deliverable will reflect on the GC.  Knowing this, all GC’s are motivated to select subcontractors with a proven track record of quality workmanship performed over time.

However, within the construction industry, high standards for electrical contractors are a given.  A labor pool of certified technicians, adherence to the latest building codes, and a working knowledge of the most recent innovations in construction science are all baseline considerations for GC’s.  

While high service standards are critical, just being able to say your technicians are trained and certified is not enough.  Any other electrical subcontractor making a serious pitch to land the same job can say the same thing.

Source: FSG

GC’s expect nothing less than top-flight electricians with deep industry experience who will execute the electrical work scope of a new building’s design according to the very latest standards and practices.  But qualification to perform the work as a standalone consideration is not enough to place an electrical contractor on a GC’s Preferred Vendor List.  

There are other factors that play into a GC’s ultimate decision about who to hire for their next big electrical construction project.  These are the considerations that make the most difference for GC’s.

Building a Brand with Every New Project

It has been said that character is showcased through actions performed without a witness.  While this is true for individuals, general contractors know that their business reputation depends on the successful completion of projects performed on some of the world’s largest stages, with lots of witnesses paying very close attention.

Once the banners go up and the ground is broken on a new high-profile construction project, the pressure is on for GC’s.  Their name is on the project for all time, and the stakes for their brand are very high.

For important projects, GC’s only want to work with electrical subcontractors who have demonstrated a willingness to share their mission and work together to build their brand.  During the life of an important construction project, GC’s want an electrical subcontractor that sees the bigger picture, that understands the value of a professional reputation, and that willingly puts their organization in service of their GC customer’s goals.

What does this look like in actual practice?  On almost every construction project, an electrical subcontractor’s dedication can be seen when design elements are found to be in error, or when problems arise that threaten the overall project schedule.

Rolling with the Changes in Real Time

We wanted to find out more about the special relationship between GC’s and electrical subcontractors, so we turned to FSG’s Houston branch and Business Development Manager Chad Kubecka.  With many years and many successful projects under his belt, Chad was quick to identify a key component of a winning GC / electrical subcontractor relationship.

“The most important thing,” says Kubecka, “is how we deal with the problems that almost always come up during a construction project.  The way we solve unexpected challenges is what sets us apart with general contractors.”

“The way we solve unexpected challenges is what sets us apart with general contractors.”

Chad Kubecka, Business Development Manager, FSG Houston

It definitely helps that FSG’s experience allows us to avoid many problems that might ordinarily pop up.  That experience, combined with the latest tools like Building Information Modeling (BIM), allows us to anticipate issues and steer clear of them before they lead to costly delays on electrical construction projects.

And yet, even with all the best planning tools, problems on construction projects still come up, and somebody has to find a way to work through those problems and deliver the project on schedule.  That’s what the GC is counting on, and that is the only way the GC can meet its goals.

When the ribbon-cutting ceremony is complete, when the press releases have all been issued, and when all backs have been patted and every hand has been shaken, all that went right on a construction project is usually quickly forgotten.

COMAR Case Study

In fact, it is the crazy challenges and pop-up problems that get talked about among construction industry professionals for years.  GC’s remember all that was overcome in support of a successful outcome.  They can tell you about the people and the extra effort that went into finding a way to get the job done despite the challenges.

That is the bottom line for general contractors.  Problems happen.  Everybody knows it.  Who can I count on to share my sense of urgency and meet these challenges head-on?  That’s who I want to hire for my next high-stakes construction project.

FSG Delivers Lasting Value to General Contractors

Since 1982, FSG has been on a mission to deliver exceptional service to GC’s across the country.  With completed showcase projects that include iconic arenas, stadiums, hospitals, universities, and downtown high-rise buildings, FSG has a proud history of lessons learned and problems solved for our GC customers.

Stories from 30 years ago are still being told, about the application of creative solutions that led to customer success on important projects.  Recent projects like a hospital expansion for UTMB in League City, Texas tell the same story, about how FSG found a way to meet our customer’s goals even in the face of daunting challenges. 

From data centers and mission-critical projects to sporting venues, industrial facilities, and entire campuses of new-build mid-rise offices, we have seen it all – and we have successfully solved problems all along the way.

So in the end, GC’s want to work with people who understand their goals and who adopt those priorities as their own during the life of a construction project.  They value professionalism, certifications, and compliance, but above all else, they want to work with subcontractors who can rise to the occasion when problems appear and the GC’s professional reputation is on the line.

For a growing list of GC’s supervising the nation’s most important construction projects today, that is precisely why they choose FSG. To learn more about how FSG can assist with your upcoming project contact us or call (877) 293-6689.

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