Contract Surety

Time’s Ticking: Deferred Maintenance



Across the country, local, state and federally-owned public buildings are in dire need of attention. Commitments and allocations are starting to add up, and contractors are digging in. Read on for examples of how a variety of funding streams are coming together to get ambitious efforts off the ground.


Inching Forward

Pretty much everywhere we look, there are public facilities in need of attention–and the longer work is deferred, the worse–and more costly–the problems become. Despite the magnitude of work to be done, there is reason for cautious optimism. Pots of dollars at the local, state and national level are getting committed, and, as Mary Scott Nabers, the CEO of Strategic Partnership, reports, significant action is indeed bubbling up:


Deferred maintenance is a major problem for many public entities throughout the U.S. including cities, counties, school districts, universities, hospitals and law enforcement agencies. Upgrading their facilities will cost billions of dollars, and the longer this issue remains unaddressed, the greater the financial burden will be on taxpayers. In recent years, federal, state and local governments have made funding a priority to begin the slow and somewhat painful process of addressing these problems. New initiatives have been launched…and many public assets are already in various stages of repair, renovation or replacement. Congress has made funding available through the American Rescue Plan and other initiatives, and money is also being approved through bond elections, state coffers and public-private partnerships….As a result, many projects will be launched in 2024 and over the next several years.


With so much opportunity knocking, Nabers advises contractors to stay tuned to the many ways new projects are getting funded and off the ground, observing: “With multiple funding sources, including federal funding, bond elections, state allocations and public-private partnerships, opportunities will be widespread. Keeping abreast of these initiatives and the specific projects they entail is essential.” Three specific steps contractors can take to improve their prospects for tapping in on the action include:


Diversify expertise. The deferred maintenance reform covers a broad spectrum of repair, renovation and replacement projects. Builders should be prepared to diversify their expertise, from upgrading building systems and utilities to handling road repairs and infrastructure projects. This flexibility can open doors to various opportunities.


Collaborate. Government agencies, educational institutions, healthcare facilities and more will seek private sector partners to carry out these projects. Builders should be ready to collaborate with these entities and demonstrate their capacity to deliver high-quality, cost-effective solutions.


Leverage federal grants. Builders should explore potential partnerships with agencies like the EPA to tap into available funds and secure contracts for critical projects.


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Good To Know

Given the amount of attention many public facilities require, projects are finding the “greenlight” by pooling funds from different sources, which also enables ambitious plans that go beyond mere repair. Examples of big undertakings getting off the ground include:


The University of South Florida received funding from the American Rescue Plan to address deferred maintenance issues on the campus. Approximately $28.9 million is earmarked to upgrade and enhance building systems. Another $26.5 million project will address campus utilities.


The Hastings Veterans Affairs Campus in Minnesota will address deferred maintenance issues by demolishing and replacing six buildings. Facilities that are not replaced need immediate attention and a vast amount of repair and upgrades, including new pipes and HVAC systems. A planned construction project to replace the administrative facility carries an anticipated cost of $221 million, and the other construction effort has a price tag of $194 million. Five residential buildings will be demolished and replaced with one large housing facility designed to deliver upgraded apartments. The new facility will also be structured to provide space for residential mental and medical services. Construction will launch in 2026.


Don’t forget: The Partnership Account® for Contractors is here to help contractors gain capacity and scale up. Get free insights and financial scores just for completing the pre-qualification.


Once qualified, The Partnership Account®  provides builders with a surety line of credit—in writing—and a private digital dashboard. Use it to access real time financial intel, including a day to day snapshot of single and aggregate limits and current and available bond capacity. Go ahead: update work on hand and increase your aggregate. Got a special opportunity coming along? Let’s connect!


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.