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Time and Material Tag 101

What is a time and material tag?

What is a Time & Material Tag? And Why Does It Exist?


A Time & Material Tag—or T&M Tag for short—is simply a mechanism the commercial construction industry uses to document and authorize a scope of work performed. It lists the time, labor, material, and equipment used to complete the work but does not assign any dollar values. The “field” verifies that the hours are correct and the “office” verifies the work is outside the project contract. 

T&M Tags - Who Needs 'Em?


It is typically the project manager’s job to manage the project cost and contract. In most companies, the job site crew is not involved or allowed to know the cost or contract. That’s why they use a Time & Material Tag to document the quantity of work performed without any associated costs attached. The document and process are designed to help both parties:


  • Subcontractors can protect themselves from cost overruns due to performing uncompensated work outside their contract by formally documenting what their crew did.
  • General Contractors use T&M tags to protect themselves from approving costs out on the jobsite that may wind up being work already included in the contract.


A Time & Material Tag also keeps projects moving forward. When it is unclear if work is outside the contract, instead of arguing over it for days or weeks, the job site crew can proceed with the work. The crew simply documents the quantities of labor, material, and equipment and the office decides if the work was truly in/out of contract. In theory, this sounds great, but in practice, it is challenging due to the current outdated process.


Extra work requiring a T&M Tag can occur for numerous reasons but, typically, there are several common categories we have seen, including:

  • Overtime hours
  • Paint touch-up
  • Trade damage
  • Additional cleaning
  • Re-staking
  • Concrete sack and patching
  • Drywall patching
  • Owner/Architect-directed changes
  • Unforeseen conditions

What makes the current Time & Material Tag process so inefficient?


Today, T&M Tags are almost universally done with triplicate carbon copy paper. The Subcontractor keeps a copy, the General Contractor keeps a copy, and the jobsite keeps a copy. Back in the contractor’s office, the T&M Tag has cost applied in the form of a Change Order Request and the contractor sends it to the customer for review and approval.


The current state of T&M Tags is a clunky, broken process. Here’s a look at the obvious challenges:

  • The documents are handwritten
  • They can be hard to read
  • Photo documentation rarely exists
  • Paper copies must be physically driven from the field to the office
  • Documents must be scanned in order to provide backup documentation
  • They are often incredibly slow to process, resulting in backlogs and delays
  • They get lost!
  • They get coffee spilled on them. A lot.
  • They come back looking more like beat-up, ancient artifacts than a clean, professional document.


Enter Extracker


With Extracker, we give you, the Subcontractor, mobile tools to professionally document your work, making life better for you and your GC. From your mobile phone, you can easily and quickly assemble a Time & Material Tag that efficiently documents every extra bit of work performed. At the press of a button, a clean PDF T&M Tag is created and instantly shared with the customer. With our photo documentation tool, you can show the work completed with before and after pictures. Your work is documented in a way that gives the General Contractor the ability to clearly present any extra costs to the owner (or back charge another contractor if necessary).


Extracker instantly recognizes these cost exposures and neatly logs them for both the Subcontractor and the General Contractor, drastically reducing surprises. Any additional costs are transparent for all parties to access and see instantly.


    Fewer disputes, fewer headaches, fewer monetary bombshells.


    And all that peace of mind is completely free!


    Getting started is easy. Create your free account at and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.


Schedule a Demo to learn more!