Do you subcontract out part of your production or services? When you’re completing pre-qualification questionnaires, there is often a section asking you to specify whether you will be subcontracting a proportion of the contract. If you plan to use subcontractors, you must say so here – otherwise you can be penalised later in the contract.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a subcontractor, and often for larger construction contracts it makes logical sense to specialise aspects of a contract (such as scaffolding) rather than directly employing operatives. However, where this is the acer, the pre-qualification questionnaire will often require you to provide additional information about how you recruit, manage and quality assure your subcontractors, including evidence of where this has been successfully done previously.
Types of questions you may be asked about subcontractors
Essentially the buyer is trying to ascertain how you will manage the performance of suppliers, ensure their availability, and manage risk associated with them not delivering what they have promised. A robust subcontractor management process is integral, and you must be prepared to provide answers to questions such as those listed below to satisfy the buyer that your use of subcontractors is low risk:
- What is your process for selecting subcontractors?
- What prerequisites do you require of them before taking them on?
- How do you check that what they claim is true?
- How do you ensure that they match your stated procedures and policies?
- How do you monitor the performance of your subcontractors?
- How do you measure the quality of the service your subcontractors provide?
- How do you collect Key Performance Indicator information for the subcontractors’ work?
- How do you penalise the subcontractors if their work is not up to standard?
In order to be prepared, it’s best to have these questions thought through and answered in advance. Of course, it’s already part of some ISO standards and schemes such as Investors in People to have controls in place over your subcontractor procedures, so make sure you quote this information in your pre-qualification questionnaire.