Blog Posts

Erland / The Benefits of Early Subcontractor Engagement During Preconstruction & Design

By Jake Chace, Project Executive

Successful construction projects are built on the foundation of strong subcontractor relationships. Over the last four and a half decades, Erland has learned this firsthand. Every day our teams rely heavily on the skill and expertise of our subcontractor partners. One of the main ways we ensure a smooth project delivery is by engaging critical trades early in the preconstruction and design process.

Allowing experienced subcontractors to advise on constructability prior to having complete drawings refines the project’s program. It also creates opportunities for the design team and construction manager to identify and mitigate any scope complexities and risks upfront. Everyone’s involvement at this early stage limits changes and minimizes rework during construction, saving owners time and money.

Subcontractors also offer technical know-how and innovative ideas on how to fast-track the procurement process which is more important than ever with the industry’s ongoing supply chain issues. We recommend awarding early packages to key trades as quickly as possible to lock in production and pricing. Bringing them on board in this capacity helps expedite the design, submittals, and material delivery and installation and allows us to manage budget and schedule expectations more realistically. 

We are currently in the early stages of preconstruction on a 103,000sf, out-of-the-ground lab and cGMP facility for a repeat client. Knowing the market and partnering with subcontractors for further insight on the materials required for this project, we’ve learned that electrical components such as switchgears and transformers have a lead time of anywhere from 18 to 24 months. This could have a huge impact on a project’s schedule. A building like this can be completed in 19 months, from start to finish. Not having a switchgear or transformer on time will cause major delays and stall the owner’s ability to utilize the space as planned to meet their pro forma. To prohibit this from happening, we’ve made a push to get these items released by the owner and worked the construction schedule around their delivery and installation.

Additionally, bringing multiple subcontractors together early on in preconstruction will foster good communication and collaboration as the project progresses. The synergistic atmosphere fostered by this approach paves the way for a smooth delivery and better overall client experience.

For any questions regarding this topic, please contact Jake Chace at