Subcontractors are an integral part of the Mark IV team, and their buy-in is essential to our success.

  • Two weeks out: The superintendent (project manager) calls to schedule the date we would like to see them on site and to explain our “big-picture” goals for the job.
  • One week out: The super calls with more detail about the sub's commitment and the job's progress and status.
  • Three days out: The super calls to confirm that we are on the sub's schedule, as agreed in the previous two calls.
  • The day before: The super calls to pinpoint the sub's arrival time and to pass on information such as where to park and which door to use.

For each of those calls, we apply a “three strikes” rule. That is, if a super has to call three times without getting a satisfactory response, the next call comes from me. This reminds our subs that they must be responsive to be on our team.

Mark IV has six supervisors, so without them running interference, I would be on the phone all the time. This system keeps our communications strong, frees me up for my primary responsibilities, and helps us complete about 95% of our jobs on schedule.

—Andy Hannan is the production manager of Mark IV Builders, Bethesda, Md.