Partnership with trade contractors will ease the burden of an uncertain labor market and volatile material pricing. In a construction market with rapidly rising costs, trade contractors are selling access to limited supplies and skilled labor.
In a fast paced and volatile construction market the elusive search for the “low bid” can cause unwanted turbulence in construction project delivery. Escalating material, equipment and fuel prices and an overtaxed supply of skilled labor are creating challenging conditions for building owners and developers. Prices are steadily rising and the limited capacity of some specialty trades are further complicating project delivery.
One of the defining features of Web 2.0 was a focus on cloud-based communication platforms. This revolution in communication allowed project teams to accelerate project delivery to a dizzying pace and create a dramatically shorter project schedule. The construction industry has hit terminal velocity with the systems in place and further reduction in project schedule is unlikely without a radical shift in project delivery methods.
Reducing the construction project schedule further will require a shift in focus away from commodity-based buying where each product, supplier and installer are seen as interchangeable equals. In contrast, partnering with- and committing to- qualified firms will allow construction buyers to harness modern technology, building information modeling and opportunities for prefabrication.
Commitment will need to be more than surface level. True value is derived when a highly motivated team of experts has aligned interests to ensure your project is a success. The advantages offered by technology and collaborative design can only be leveraged through the partnership between owners, general contractors and specialty trade contractors. Building Modeling with clash detection eliminates waste and rework. Early design assistance helps provide cost and supply chain insight to the architectural and engineering team. Detailed design and precision placement create an opportunity to fabricate components off site. Fewer parts installed by fewer on-site technicians creates a job site that is safe and on schedule.
In addition to the highly technical benefits of building design and construction, early commitment can combat material price volatility. Specialty trade contractors can provide input on components and systems to ensure material, manpower and equipment availability. Early purchase of bulk components or system equipment can lock in pricing and guarantee delivery dates.
Combining prefabrication and trade partnership reduces the impact of potential labor shortages. Specialty contractors can plan and design assemblies to be constructed off-site reducing the burden on the project site. Divorcing the production of building components from the status of the project site allows for a predictable work flow. When properly planned the production time frame can begin before the building structure is erected and proceed without regard to inclement weather, poor soils, equipment delays or any other unforeseen item that may plague a project site.
The access to building materials, equipment and skilled labor is first come, first serve. The owners, developers and general contractors that commit to building project teams will create the relationships and alignment necessary to minimize disruption and increase the certainty of schedule and outcome.