Subcontractors are an often over looked but essential part of the home building industry. Many outside the industry do not understand how large a part subcontractors have in the construction of a home. Home builders and remodelers subcontract a large portion of their construction work out to trade contractors who can more efficiently deliver individual pieces of the construction process. Specialized subcontractors perform much or even all of the actual labor.
About 71 percent of those employed in the home building industry are subcontractors. Total employment in the home building industry stands at 2.231 million with 647,000 consisting of builders and the remaining 1.584 million subcontractors.
During the past 40 years, the use of subcontractors significantly accelerated. In 2012, 68 percent of home builders subcontracted 75 percent or more of the construction costs, whereas in 1959 on 31% was subcontracted. A major reason for this trend is due to the increasing complexity, features and amenities supplied with new homes.
There continues to be a shortage of subcontractors. After the housing bust, many were forced to find other lines of work. Some builders are seeing delays in construction up to 60 days due to the lack of skilled subcontractors. However, home builders are hoping a stronger housing industry outlook will bring workers into the field in 2014.