September saw a steady creep upwards of interest rates and news of inflation. While the most recent Consumer Price Index numbers aren’t out, CPI in August was 0.6% higher than July, and 6.3% higher than a year ago.
In Florida, the massive clean up and re-construction efforts resulting from Hurricane Ian is estimated at $60 billion, and bound to exacerbate the already strained pool of skilled labor and those seeking employment in construction. Openings for construction jobs rose by 407,000 in August alone, which was 54,000 more than in July.
Additionally, with fuel and material costs still above pre-pandemic numbers and continued supply chain delays, both owners and construction firms are wary of a coming recession and shifting focus on cost and workforce management.
Regarding public infrastructure spending, 53% of public school districts report the need to update or replace multiple building systems. With the introduction of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), many of the school funding needs are being met. As of August and September, students across the country are back in school and are now having to navigate around school construction projects.
Owners Thinking ahead to a Possible Recession
Owners of capital improvement projects are well aware of a potential economic crisis and are re-evaluating their projects and ROIs in light of a falling GDP. Turning to program management information solutions and digital technology can help owners make financial decisions around their cash flows for projects.
Throughout the boom in infrastructure projects created by the BIL, supply chain issues are still an ongoing problem. Despite the cost of materials being down in September by an average of 5.1%, closer to pre-pandemic prices, owners are still having to compensate for the high cost of materials and get creative with schedule work-arounds due to tough-to-source materials.
Construction firms are thinking ahead to a possible recession, and taking action now to create as much cushion as possible in their finances and construction strategies. One strategy we’re seeing is owners and contractors are both working to create workflows that limit down time and use all available resources—such as e-Builder’s workflows, which integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to prioritize and maximize resources.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Preparing for the future involves proper workforce management, leveraging technology, and having contingencies in place.
Workforce Management Techniques to Boost Project Success
As of September 6, 2022, $118B worth of BIL funding has been announced, leaving owners and contractors with tough decisions on how to best manage their workforce and prepare for incoming infrastructure projects. Many firms are realizing they have to do more work with the same resources and owners are looking into streamlining workforce management.
Employing digital construction management software and allowing the BIL or other grants to foot the bill for the upgrade can support owners in the quest to standardize processes. With a digital transformation of project management software, firms can use technology to help manage tackling the backlog of infrastructure projects.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Business strategy that includes making the most of an organization’s resources and quick responses to potential problems are what will set apart a firm for success. Adoption of digital technology will help firms reach their workforce organization goals.
How K-12 Schools are Keeping Students Safe Through Design and Throughout Construction
Amongst the infrastructure funding recipients are K-12 schools. In addition to their regularly scheduled budget for construction projects and school upgrades, they’re also receiving funding for infrastructure improvements, resulting in ongoing construction projects on K-12 campuses across the country.
As students head back to school, safety is a priority for both students, and contractors. Owners and contractors are collaborating to employ technology, such as Trimble’s Sensera camera system to monitor site access. They’re also adopting digital construction management tools to help ensure safety in schools with ongoing construction projects. Trauma Informed Design is used in school design, while also considering how design can deter unwanted visitors or active shooter threats.
- In this case study, the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority designed a construction project management workflow system with e-Builder. The workflow was unique to their school needs as well as supported the school system in organizing and managing funding from various places.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Maximize technology and dedicated space barriers to keep students (and contractors) safe on the jobsite and design to keep students and teachers safe throughout the year.
Back to Basics Series
It’s a good time to be prepared for various economic scenarios and weathering the storms of the future. Go back to the basics with this webinar series to explore streamlining your organization with our advanced digital construction management software.