Painter snagging, or a chargeable item?




Posted by The Painters’ QS in Estimating for Painting Contractors

Just had this question from a Quick Paint Rate user regarding ‘snagging’.

What is the general view on snagging. 

I have always operated with the view if it's something I haven't done right the first time then I just redo it. 

However if this is work done by a subbie am I expecting them to do it for free as well? 

Once they have been paid and the snagging has come after that then this is not always easy to get someone to do it.

Estimator’s Reply

My answers will be different according to the snagging.

Is the snagging due to poor workmanship by the subbie, or is the snagging due to shrinkage, damage by other trades or 'out of sequence work'?

1. Snagging due to poor workmanship by the 'subbie':

Let's face it, if you have paid the 'subbie' in full, then you have little chance of getting them back to put right their works.  There are two solutions to this:

•    When you initially give the ‘subbie’ the ‘price’, gives him a slightly reduced price with say 2-3hrs worth of time taken out to allow for this.  Obviously don’t tell the ‘subbie’ this, just give him the price.  It’s a ‘guesstimate’, but overall, hopefully it should be enough unless you get a particularly ‘rough’ subbie.

•    When a ‘subbie’ is claiming part monies or full amount, go and visit the plot/project and ‘snag’ the subbies’ work.  Once’ he has put the ‘snags’ right, you can then pay him.  

It’s a pain and subbies wont like it (they may even ‘walk’), but if you don’t do one of these things, you will often be losing money due to this type of snagging.

2. Snagging due to ‘shrinkage’, damage to finished decorations by ‘other trades’, ‘out of sequence works’ or missed items

You can often get a call from the site manager saying that the subbie has missed some works or the quality of the work is not good enough.  When you actually go and look at the works, you find that:

•    The ‘poor quality’ is due to ‘shrinkage’, plaster patching done after decorations have been finished or damage to finished decorations by ‘other trades’.

•    ‘Missed items’ are usually to do with the fact that skirting boards, architraves and window boards have been installed after decorations have been finished even though the site agent insisted you got the plot/project finished despite your warnings that items had not been installed.

When you get a call relating to snagging, you have to go and visit the site to establish if what you are being told by the site agent/QS is correct.  Remember, ‘natural shrinkage’ is NOT snagging that you are responsible for.

If the cause is NOT anything to do with ‘poor workmanship’, then you need to start talking to the QS, ideally with regard to providing a fixed cost to put the works right (not always possible, but much safer than offering to do the works on a dayworks basis).

Both the QS/Site manager will argue to the contrary as they don’t want to pay for this.  Stick to your guns and don’t believe anyone that tells you “Just get it done and we’ll sort it out at the end”.  Be warned, they may try to ‘bully’ you into doing these works.

If they are arguing with you prior to you completing the works, you can bet that your chances of getting paid after you have done the works are not good.

This type of snagging is ‘chargeable’ to the Principal Contractor.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Mark O’Donnell

Painting Estimator


Written by P&D Online

The Painters’ QS