Drywall Contractor Work 101: Everything You Need to Know
When the Drywall Contractor’s work is completed, that is when a building starts looking like a building, and the finish line of the multi-year project is approaching. This is an important phase in the project because the work of the Drywall contractor is the most visible to the owner and subject to the most judgment.
What is involved in the role of a drywall contractor?
In large commercial projects, the drywall contractor is one of the last specialty trades to work on a building. After the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work has been completed, the project is at the stage for the drywall contractor to construct framing, install insulation, and place drywall.
As more and more buildings seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification, a drywall contractor that supports energy efficiency will be in high demand. Insulation, in and of itself, serves as sound and thermal control. However, newer materials have been developed that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Environmentally-friendly products include a high percentage of recycled or natural materials as well as little to none harmful substances. The critical factor of “green” insulation which can affect pricing the most is R-value which measures heat flow resistance. A higher R-Value is an investment in long-term energy savings because a high R-value insulation keeps warm air in during cold weather and the hot air out in hot weather.
While traditional drywall is still the most commonly used material, there are many different types of drywall on the market. Depending on the placement of the drywall, there are various levels of moisture resistance. Similar to insulation some drywalls are made of natural and recycled materials, as well as ones that provide an additional level of fire and soundproofing. Depending on your design objectives and budget, there are a variety of materials to fit your needs.
Measuring, cutting, and placing the drywall sheets is the physically strenuous part of the drywall project. The adage of “measure twice and cut once” rings true to ensure that the right size pieces are cut as well as the openings for electrical outlets and light switches. Finishing is the final piece to ensure the joints and edges are smoothed over and ready for paint or wallpaper. This time intensive multi-step process involves covering joints and screw heads with special joint compound and tape, sanding, and repeating the process as needed.
Drywall Contractor software and its uses
More often than not, by the time the project is ready for framing, insulation, and drywall, the project is running behind schedule. There have been many times when the laborers of the drywall subcontractor arrive, and other trades are in the way preventing work to start.
Documenting delays and lost labor hours is critical for a drywall subcontractor to track in a project management software. If lost hours with other trades continues to be a chronic problem, communication (either in person or writing) with the owner or general contractor should be managed as part of the project documentation. Important features in project management software for a drywall contractor should include meeting minutes that can be used to document notes and action items from in person meetings; while two-way email integration keeps all email correspondence tied to a project. Communication stored along with the rest of the project documentation in one central repository provides a detailed audit trail to mitigate risk and protect the subcontractor.
With daily documentation regarding labor hours and material, the drywall contractor can proactively track labor productivity. A project management solution that captures labor hours from daily reports into a cost-to-complete report is an invaluable tool for the drywall contractor. If the labor efficiency is not on target, then the contractor can determine what aspects of the labor are running behind and then increase the number of crew (either applicators or finishers) to keep the project on schedule.
The process of becoming a drywall contractor
Drywall Contractors are usually required to be licensed which vary by state. Similar to most specialty trades, hands-on experience is invaluable to a becoming a successful drywall contractor. An apprenticeship with a drywall contractor provides in-depth class room and on-the job training. Physical strength is generally required for a drywall installer to lift sheets into place as well as precision cuts to reduce waste.
Whether you are a drywall applicator or finisher, there is a high degree of danger for drywall contractors. Depending on the size of the drywall, sheets of drywall can be heavy and need multiple workers to install. Falls off scaffolding are frequent, so it is critical that workers are wearing proper protection. Dust from sanding and gypsum board is a hazard as well, so eye and respiratory protection are required. A reputable drywall contractor has a strong safety and wellness program to ensure the safety and well-being of its workers.
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