The plumbing system is an integral part of any house, because it supports occupants’ hygiene and comfort. That said, building projects are in dire need of a good plumbing subcontractor who can do an excellent job at laying out the system. But with hundreds of plumbing subcontractors out there, the competition becomes more intense and a firm needs to find new ways to stay competitive.
To be commissioned to do the job, there are undoubtedly many ways today that special trade contractors can observe. The biggest contributor to their success is the technology and it’s not a surprise as we’ve seen tons of innovations in the industry that have been effective at ensuring the quality of assurance along the process. It has sped up construction works and made subcontractor crew management more efficient. It has made outputs more accurate and aligned to the specs required by the client. In other words, technology is one of the biggest influencers in the success of a plumbing company.
That said, plumbing subcontractors who are still depending on traditional methods should try embracing modernity. For those who are still struggling to make the shift, here are ways to slowly do the transition and become another force to reckon in the plumbing trade.
1. Start by Planning with BIM and Software
Plans in construction are no longer written on paper. They are now documented digitally, thanks to the availability of cloud technology. It has become a preferred way of writing plans as digital copies can be saved safely on computers and on the cloud, where they can be shared instantly to everyone involved in the project. Plumbing subcontractors then need to follow this builders trend so he doesn’t get left behind in the process and to open better opportunities for teamwork.
And speaking of cloud technology, the use of subcontractor scheduling software is another technology that plumbing companies should start considering. With the construction work taking a lot of the project managers’ time, they already started using tools to lessen their load without compromising the quality of their work and construction software is the best solution found for that. They work best for communication and collaboration, which are greatly required during the planning phase.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed how construction companies write their plans and special trade contractors are now following that trend. For one, BIM is not just a mere 3D design software used to layout the design. It presents the project in a very detailed manner and in an exact way, it will be constructed. Hence, designers can now take a look at all possible flaws that the project team may encounter along the way. The same goes for plumbing subcontractors. With both the construction team and subcontractors using BIM in their plans and design, both can collaborate more efficiently and eliminate risks of errors when the project already kicks off.
Second, the latest BIM versions now include features for estimation, fabrication, asset management, and on-site construction job management, making it a versatile construction solution. That said, plumbing subcontractors who want to stay on top of the competition should embrace this technology and enjoy the efficiency brought about by its features.
2. Get Involved During the Early Stages
Proactive plumbing subcontractors want to be involved in the project as early as the planning stage. It would be beneficial for them to do so, too so they won’t have to make huge adjustments when they only enter the site when it’s their turn to lay out the plumbing system.
Pipes are usually hidden beneath the flooring and walls and that means plumbing subcontractors should work closely with the concrete contractor and general contractor before any cement pouring happens. So during the pre-construction phase, when it’s time to review the BIM project, plumbing subcontractors should already be present to offer their consultative services. This way, the team will be able to draft the best plan and design that eliminates errors.
3. Collaborate and Communicate With the Project Team and Other Stakeholders
The plumbing system of the building is a part of the dependencies in construction. That means some systems can’t be installed without the pipes and ducts being laid out first. With that said, plumbing subcontractors must have open communication and collaboration with other stakeholders and the primary project team.
Today, there are so many tools that can be used for collaborative and communication purposes. As discussed, BIM is an excellent tool to get all stakeholders to work together and share their ideas in a single platform. Apart from that, subcontractor scheduling software such as Pro Crew Schedule can be used to exchange information while having a channel for communication.
The main advantage of using such programs for collaboration and communication is that data is updated in real-time. This way, confusion won’t arise and mistakes are less likely to happen. Hence, BIM and the best subcontractor scheduling software are the keys to achieving better project results.
4. Using Technology for Faster Installation
Now that you’ve seen how BIM and software can iron out the planning stage, it’s time to look at how these technologies can help plumbing subcontractors do a better job installing their system.
Take your plans, specs, and other relevant information with you to the site and be guided during your installation through your subcontractor software. Plans and drawings can be saved on your software’s cloud storage, making it easier for your crew to review and understand the requirements of their task rather than looking at a printed drawing. The drawings can be zoomed in and out and viewed from different angles, making their job faster, more accurate, and more efficient.
Additionally, your crew won’t have to waste precious time when there are updates on the drawing and plan as the files they refer to when they are at the site re being updated in real-time. This way, delays will be prevented and so as errors.
Finally, being on mobile allows the plumbing crew to take their work with them anywhere at the site so when they need to work in limited spaces, they can still be guided in their tasks – something that printed plans and in-premise software can’t offer.
5. Trying Pipe Prefabrication
In a previous blog, we suggested prefabrication as one of the techniques construction companies can use to double their efficiency and cost savings. Today, even plumbing subcontractors can use the strategy.
When the project has a tight schedule and you think your crew and equipment aren’t enough to meet the deadline, why not try to employ prefabrication? Some subcontractors now use prefabrication of their piping systems to reduce workloads while improving their work quality. With prefabricated piping system manufacturers, subcontractors can be assured that their system is well-engineered and all that’s left for them to do is the installation work.
6. Be Flexible
There isn’t a construction project that’s done perfectly. Even with BIM, issues can still arise whether it’s a wrong fit of pipe or wrong installation and subcontractors need to be flexible to adjust immediately once errors happen. And s you know, being stuck and not knowing what to do when things go wrong can lead to delays.
The key to becoming more flexible is having a clear forecast of possible problems during the planning stage and coming up with risk management strategies. This way, the team working at the site won’t have to panic knowing that they have Plan Bs and Cs to refer to when things suddenly go as originally planned. This also improves the crew’s decision making even without the subcontractor at the site.
Having a reliable, collaborative tool that can connect the crew members with the subcontractor can immediately discuss smarter solutions.
7. Embracing Other Technologies Apart From BIM and Software
Smart solutions in construction aren’t limited to the use of BIM and subcontractor scheduling software. Sure, they are among the affordable, highly adaptable, and most effective solutions today, but a plumbing subcontractor can still look beyond these technologies to become a more modern plumbing company.
Other tools that can be used to boost efficiency at the site include the use of augmented reality. This technology combines digital information and the physical world and some plumbing companies are using AR to compare their actual work with their plan hands-free. They connect BIM and their software with the AR device to access information without the use of mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. This way, the crew’s efficiency at the site can be double and his speed tripled.
There’s definitely a lot of ways on how plumbing subcontractors can survive this highly modern world. They don’t need to go with the most expensive technologies to become competitive in their industry and succeed. A simple BIM and subcontractor scheduling software can already contribute so much to improving their processes and work quality. And when they’re ready to employ other technologies, they should review which innovation can add more value to their company and increase their chance of becoming a preferred plumbing subcontractor.