For general contractors, selecting the right subcontractors has always been of the utmost importance. The right team can sometimes make or break a project, which is why many construction companies are considering the role construction technology can play in evaluating business partners.

Graham Group, www.graham.ca, Calgary, Alta., recently put technology in place for subcontractor prequalification management to improve risk management and subcontractor relations.

This general contractor, which is involved with commercial, industrial, infrastructure, earthworks, and masonry work, is no stranger to the use of technology. The company designed an internal Web-based, electronic-information system that integrates project management, procurement, and payroll, which allows the contractor to capture and share data through each phase of the project and keep the entire team—owner, consultants, project managers, subcontractors, and suppliers—involved.

Last week, Graham added another tool to its belt, specifically addressing prequalification management. Mike Slapman, chief financial officer, Graham Group, says it decided to implement new technology to automate the collection of subcontractor prequalification documents to support its subcontractor default insurance initiative.

With PQM (Pre-Qualification Management) from Textura Corp., www.texturacorp.com, Deerfield, Ill., integrated with the Graham Toolbox suite of software applications, the general contractor is able to reduce risk and ensure it is, in fact, selecting the right partners.

Graham Group worked closely with Textura to integrate the technology and configure the systems. After two months of set up by the implementation team, the first subcontractor began using the system for prequalification.

For construction companies considering implementing prequalification technology, integrating new software with existing in-house applications could be a good way to go. For others, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems already in place within the organization could offer modules for preconstruction. Adding these capabilities could be as simple as taking advantage of a new functionality in software you already own.

For example, Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., is one such enterprise provider that includes a preconstruction module as a portion of its technology package.

Preconstruction modules can help manage the bid process, track bid invitations, and create RFIs and transmittals. It also allows general contractors to comply with government reporting and track money spent on projects that are in partnership with minority business enterprises.

For any general contractor, assembling the right team of partners is critical to the success of a project. Using prequalification technology could be a good way to minimize risk and ensure the right team members are on the job—not to mention integrate that data with other critical business processes down the line.