Commercial contractors continue to battle various shortages brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Many claim the difficulty in procurement of some construction materials and the cost associated with shortages won’t go away anytime soon. From Old Forge’s experience, this strain hasn’t been too unmanageable with our supplier partners working hard to keep us meeting project needs. However, the materials we’ve noticed the most substantial shortages of following the COVID-19 outbreak are treated lumber and appliances.

In a recent conversation with a representative from AISC (The American Institute of Steel Construction), she mentioned that steel pricing has remained fairly stable, despite the drop in demand last Spring. This is one example of several areas that haven’t gone completely uncharted in the industry.

Looking at an example in application, the toy company Fisher-Price had extensive plans to expand their corporate campus with a larger research and development center, however challenges of material scarcity and social distancing presented design challenges that led to a 22% increase in total construction costs.

What are some ways this situation, and similar pandemic-driven disruptions, may have been remedied? The hardships many companies face in the path of COVID-19 are inevitable, however when there is a general contractor relationship closely utilized in making decisions, cost implications can become clearer, lessening the burden of jammed supply chains or false expectations.

Stemming from thorough communication with a GC early-on, clear/realistic goals can be upheld for a project’s management. When procedures are organized and established contractually, there is protection against disputes and can prevent cost or schedule lapses.

Periodic reporting systems are a great tool to track progress and ensure all project participants are aligned to the plan and results currently being seen. This type of open dialogue can further expand on objectives and allow clarity in project intent. It can be helpful to be wary of contract provisions that could cause disagreements or delays, and stay on top of these areas.

Although a 100% efficient use of time can be a hard goal, these tips can help you better work directly toward objectives in a construction relationship, even during the most challenging of times. Engaging a general contractor early in the construction lifecycle can not only allow a clear project outlook, but also gain the benefit of a material supplier relationship early-on to tackle long lead-times.

Sources referenced: