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How does subcontracting work in Australia?

Published on 1st February 2023

Being a subcontractor in Australia means that you enter into a contract with a main contractor (such as a builder) to perform specific tasks or services as part of a larger construction project. As a subcontractor, you will typically have specialized skills and expertise in a particular area of construction, such as electrical work, plumbing, or bricklaying. Your role is to work under the main contractor and provide the specific services that are outlined in your contract.

In Australia, the process of getting hired as a subcontractor typically works as follows:

  1. A main contractor or builder is awarded a construction project and enters into a contract with the client.
  2. The main contractor then assesses the specific tasks and services required for the project and determines that certain specialised tasks need to be subcontracted out to specialised subcontractors.
  3. The main contractor then solicits quotes from potential subcontractors. They may do this by advertising the project, finding subcontractors and inviting them to submit quotes, or by reaching out to subcontractors they have worked with in the past. Main contractors often use Subbie Buddy to find subbies. Interested in getting discovered by contractors and businesses needing commercial work? List with Subbie Buddy.
  4. The main contractor and the favoured subcontractor(s) then enter into a contract that outlines the specific tasks and services that the subcontractor will be responsible for, as well as the timeframe, budget and payment terms for the work.
  5. The subcontractor then begins work on the project during the agreed date and is often responsible for providing the necessary equipment, materials, and labor to complete the tasks outlined in the contract. They will also be responsible for adhering to any safety regulations and building codes and completing the work on time and within budget.
  6. The main contractor is responsible for overseeing the work of the subcontractor and ensuring that it meets the standards outlined in the contract.
  7. The subcontractor will invoice the main contractor for the work completed and the main contractor will make payment to the subcontractor as per the agreed terms in the contract.

Overall, subcontracting in Australia allows main contractors to outsource specialised tasks to subcontractors who have the specific skills and expertise needed to complete the work. This can help to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget, while also providing an opportunity for subcontractors to grow their business.

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