Subcontractors usually receive construction project documents from general contractors in five formats: PDF; Paper; Excel spreadsheets; Sharepoint, or other cloud document formats; and Building Information Models (BIM). Organizing, coordinating, and using this project information to submit an accurate bid to the general contractor can be a formidable challenge for subs. For large or complex project files, downloading, validating and entering data from these sources into a project bid proposal may take weeks, during which time the subcontractor’s abilities to provide a qualified bid or a bid at all is compromised. General contractors in turn receive low quality bids and may lose the project.
By taking a few simple steps, outlined below, to revise how project documents are delivered to subs, GCs can receive far more complete, useful, qualified bids to provide to the owner and ultimately win the project. Remember, the less time subs spend looking through project documents, the more time they spend on providing an accurate bid.
- Break Up Project Files Based on Subject Matter – A common mistake that GCs make is to implement all project documents into one file, making it extremely large and difficult for the sub to access and navigate for their bid proposal. Break the project files apart and group them based on subject matter, so the file sizes are smaller, easier to download, and simpler to navigate. For example, group all the architectural files together, structurals together, specs together and so on.
- Use a File Naming Structure – Unless GCs have a spec for naming files, subs will name files however they wish, and there will be no consistency even among the members of the same sub project team. A file naming structure for documents allows subs to know the content of a file without opening it. So, when they’re uploading and sending back marked up documents, they can easily decipher and attach the correct doc with the corresponding file record name.
- Compress PDF Project Files for Email – Compressing files before attaching to emails allows your ITB’s to arrive faster, reduce storage space and most important of all, reduces download time for the subcontractor. When sending files as an attachment, compress the project PDF files before attaching.
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