As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread, a lot of retail construction was put on hold. A year and a half later, retail construction is back and underway, yet the virus is still causing other problems.
Experts predicted another down year for nonresidential construction in 2021. Delays are seen across all segments, including retail, entertainment and restaurants.
These delays are caused by myriad factors. Two key elements are a labor shortage and material shortage, the result of supply-chain disruptions.
Horizon Retail Construction, a Sturtevant-based company with a track record of success that spans three decades, is working to proactively confront and manage these delays.
“In most cases, there are ways around delays,” said Justin Thompson, senior project manager at Horizon. “It requires strategic thinking. We are leveraging our relationships with vendors to move materials on time.”
Making the most of worker shortage
A September report from the Associated General Contractors of America found that “the coronavirus pandemic has created constraints on the demand for work even as it limits the number of workers available to hire.”
According to the report, 61% of firms cited workforce shortages as a factor in project delays.
“Managing job site manpower is important to prevent project delays,” Thompson said.
But according to Thompson, Horizon has a big advantage: the project managers and superintendents have the experience to keep a project moving forward. Those superintendents work with subcontractors to convert spaces according to client needs.
“You’re only as good as your subcontractors,” Thompson said. “Our subcontractors are qualified and experienced.”
Working around the supply chain
Material shortages are even more of a factor in project delays than manpower shortages, according to the Associated General Contractors of America report. That shortage has also led to an increase in material costs.
“There are delays on certain items and we have learned to schedule and plan around that,” Thompson said. “Recently those delays have been impacting appliances, commercial grade water heaters, sinks and other kitchen appliances for restaurant clients.”
Horizon works to keep projects on time, as it has for 28 years working across numerous segments. When that’s not possible, keeping clients in the loop on where things stand is the best way to help manage job deadlines.
“We keep lines of communication open and are up front with our clients,” Thompson said. “Our team of experts know how to keep projects on track and on schedule.
“In the end, we really feel confident that we have a dedicated and qualified team. That shows from preconstruction to start to job closeout and finish.”