Q: How can I get our subs to treat customers’ homes with respect – not just another job site, i.e., cleanliness, radio volume/stations, etc.? --Paul McHenry, McHenry Homes, Worthington, Ind.

A: Let’s first look at the term “sub-contractors.” These folks are really trade partners. Without them, you could not do the work promised to your customers. Viewing them as ‘partners’ rather than ‘subs’ might go a long way in getting them to buy-in to your notion that they should treat customers’ homes with respect.

From your question, I would guess that you haven’t formally expressed your key value of respecting the customer’s house and your expectations on how your partners and their workers should behave on one of your jobsites. That is where you should begin. Develop a list of do’s and don’ts for all personnel on your job sites. These should include the basics such as: no smoking, no loud music, no alcohol, no obscene language, proper disposal of personal trash, no offensive clothing and daily clean-up requirements. Then convene a meeting of key employees and your primary trade partners and ask them for input on how they think workers should behave on job-sites. Compile all of these items, write them down and include them as part of both your employee manual and your trade partner agreements. Then share these jobsite personnel behavior expectations with all of your current trade partners and include discussion of these policies with new contractors who want to do business with your company.

Going through the process of setting jobsite behavior expectations, asking for input from others, putting expectations in writing, and including them in trade partner agreements should eliminate any, “You never told me…” responses. If you express your values in a written agreement, then trade partners who do not perform accordingly should not be surprised when you do not ask them to work on future projects. Good luck.

-- Brindley Byrd, CGR, CAPS, is a national speaker, author and advocate who has served the construction industry for over 12-years. He established the Responsible Remodeling™ core operating system for dust-safe work practices to protect the health of workers and customers. He has guided hundreds of professional remodelers through the regulations and work practices of managing remodeling air quality. Contact Brindley at bbyrd@qx2.net or visit www.qx2.net for more information.

Read Brindley's other contributions or ask him a question.