In June, and likely beyond the summer months, capital improvement projects are sweating inflation and continued chain supply snarls; however the labor pool has experienced some positive movement.
According to ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “In June, there was an abundance of available, unfilled jobs as the summer travel season swung into high gear. Meanwhile, inflation has induced many people back into the labor market in order to offset elevated costs for essentials and luxuries alike. That served as a recipe for another month of solid job growth in America, with contractors collectively adding 13,000 jobs last month."
Additionally, the White House released a new fact sheet outlining the launch of their "Talent Pipeline Challenge" which supports employer investments in equitable workforce development for infrastructure jobs.
And while inflation may be sapping the power of the infrastructure bill, many leading state and local leaders have announced their planned capital improvement projects—from the largest floating solar installation in the U.S., to lead water line replacements in Michigan, to electric vehicle charging stations across Texas—there's no shortage of infrastructure projects in flight.
The Difference Between Repairs, Maintenance and Capital Improvements
Industry veterans all know there are fine lines to look for when classifying expenses as improvements, repairs or maintenance; however, we thought it prudent to call attention to a growing emphasis on predictive maintenance.
Predictive maintenance is where owners can tell in advance when a building, asset, etc. is going to fail and are able to take proactive action to mitigate. For example, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) has implemented a multi-tiered plan to replace aging infrastructure and build out new green infrastructure (GI) solutions.
There's also a new solution called Trimble Vegetation Manager that offers work identification, prioritization and field execution—all within a GIS-centric environment. When you enable your utility assets and nearby vegetation for 3D visualizations, you can easily see the impact of tree height and remove the risk of trees growing too close to power lines.
KEY TAKEAWAY: As the world’s population grows and the pressures to extend the life of buildings and build sustainably grows, the construction industry will evolve and develop new ways of doing business.
Tackling Infrastructure-related Projects for Your Local Community
As owners navigate a massive surge in infrastructure stimulus, they face labor shortages, availability of materials, supply chain disruptions, and traditional challenges that come with rapidly scaling a capital program.
Budgets are potentially doubling or tripling as a result of the infrastructure bill and there are several key categories where there is a sharp increase in funding, including:
- Mass Transit = $89.9 billion
- Highways, Roads & Bridges = $110 billion
- Utilities / Power = $65 billion
- Water / Wastewater = $105 billion
- Airports, Ports & Harbors = $42 billion
KEY TAKEAWAY: Owners of infrastructure play a pivotal role in the industry—whether it’s enhancing workflows and processes, augmenting staff or shedding light on dark data—if you need an experienced partner, e-Builder Enterprise stands ready to assist.
But don't just take our word, hear from some of our customers and colleagues.
How to (Better) Manage RFIs in Construction
RFIs provide a formal, documented process for exchanging information. This process keeps everyone on the same page (or at least it's supposed to) and aware of changes, clarifications and material substitutions—but what happens when an RFI is misinterpreted, duplicated or goes missing?
A trusted industry research paper suggests that the cost of a single RFI is $1,080, which means a project with, say, 50 RFIs would cost $54,000...
And according to a new report released by the American Institute of Architects, contractors said they wish architects were more responsive to RFIs...
When the status of the RFI request is difficult to track, this often impacts the entire project—resulting in delays, escalating costs and frustration among the entire crew.
KEY TAKEAWAY: If your organization doesn't have a handle on managing RFIs, take action to standardize and automate your related workflows for early wins in the construction process.