College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Construction Management Department
BS in Construction Management
Daniel J. Knight, Phil Barlow
The role of the small subcontractor often goes under-represented and over looked in the construction world, despite the high portion of the industry that is employed in this sector. This paper attempts to bring a problem that the small subcontractors face, non- and under-payment by its general contractor or owner. At what lengths will a small subcontractor with a very limited resource set go to receive missed payments? How often will they involve attorneys in disputes? Is the continued use of collections agencies worth the commission they charge? The number of subcontractors who will leave large sums of money un-contested roots from opportunity cost. The time commitment required for some is not worth the stoppage of labor and therefore wages for the sub’s workers. Only upon the sum reaching amounts necessary for the sub to continue its operations will a sub contest the payment they’ve earned. This dooms the role of the small subcontractor to a simple maintenance of wages and income to ensure its workers and owner(s) can continue living than actual profitable and growing businesses. The question is raised whether this is complacency on the subcontractor’s part or the role assigned to them by an industry as old a civilization.