Supply chains might be improving, but the bigger reason stressing over material procurement has eased is likely that builders have gotten a whole lot better at “bobbing and weaving.” Creativity and collaboration are new norms.
Just Keep Moving
That seems to be a lasting lesson from the disruption COVID-19 ushered in, now four years ago. As one civil engineering expert, Maria Lehman, put it: “[The pandemic] has changed the propensity to fight change, because you have to deal with the deck you’re dealt with, and that means doing things differently and same-old, same-old isn’t going to do it….There’s a much bigger acceptance of that than there has been in the past.”
One big adjustment contractors on federally funded civic works must rapidly make, as Build America, Buy America (BABA) has kicked in, is “procuring domestically manufactured goods, including steel, iron and other construction materials….” Indeed, in and of itself, the drive to bring manufacturing back to the United States has pumped piles of money, both public and private into the construction of manufacturing facilities. Meanwhile, given the risks of not adhering to BABA, contractors are working hard to “truly understand where products are made.” Delivering differently, given the scarcity of resources and labor, is also resulting in real time shifts like these:
Public and private clients alike are more often pre-purchasing the items that have long lead times — such as certain valves, traffic signal controllers and transformers — to avoid delaying a project, she said. That advance planning benefits suppliers as well as builders.
“[Increasingly, project teams are] bringing contractors directly into the dialogue, and [they are] talking about not only the delivery strategy, but about how to structure contracts to make it more efficient and effective for them to procure….” For example, there are ways to bundle RFPs together to be able to bid projects at scale or to better share procurement risk with clients. At the same time, builders are getting engaged in the process much earlier, so there’s more collaboration, risk-sharing and transparency among the many actors involved in bringing a project to life.
Now that one third of the funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is “out there,” bringing projects to life, industry experts predict builders will remain very busy with more public work in the year ahead, with momentum growing especially in the “roads and bridges” sector. Ready to jump into more action? Us too! Whether or not big civil builds are up your alley, we can help build your capacity to win more of the work you are craving, starting today. Receive Free Business Credit Scores instantly, just for submitting this easy, speedy Pre-Qual for a surety line of credit in writing.
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