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Hurricanes Have National Impact On Construction Industry

Tragedies like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have a horrific impact on the lives of the people in the regions they devastate, but they also have a serious impact on the entire construction community. Now, you may be a small contractor in the Pacific Northwest, thinking that events so far away couldn’t possibly affect your business, but they already have, and will cause even more problems for you over the next five years. Why? Well, to put it simply, your costs are going to go up dramatically.

Entire swaths of Texas, Florida, and Louisiana are simply gone. They’ll need to be re-built, and that’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, which will actually benefit the construction industry overall, but here’s the problem: there’s only so much material to go around. Steel, lumber, concrete, and all other construction materials are going to be in short supply for the next few years as they’re all being routed toward these devastated areas. That means the prices for them in the rest of the nation are going to skyrocket, which means your project costs rise. Now, it would be nice if we could simply up our pricing to adjust for this, but we all know the client isn’t going to bear that price on his own. The only way to survive will be to defray those costs internally with improved efficiency. Keep in mind, that it’s not only materials that are going to cost more, but your staffing and design costs are going to go up as well. The AEC world is already facing a shortage of skilled workers, and they’re going to be needed and pulled to the south over the next few years, causing more of a shortage at every level of the design cycle – from architectural firms thru onsite trades.

So, facing that dilemma, how do you increase efficiency and lower overhead in any meaningful way? The only answer is technology. Simplifying, streamlining, and improving your workflow and output is the only viable option. Take, for example, the new suite of ZenTek Revu Tools that we are releasing the first week of October, that will work in conjunction with Bluebeam Revu for markup and estimating. By providing a cost-effective, simplified set of standard takeoff and review tools for your staff, you’ll get projects done more quickly and accurately. Reducing time to build, and the number of RFI’s and Change Orders on a project can reduce overhead and increase profits, even in the face of rising costs. ZenTek Revu Tools are trade/industry specific tools built to greatly simplify takeoffs for all construction projects, using Bluebeam Revu, one of the most commonly used programs in the AEC world today. Instead of generating the details and options for each takeoff item individually, ZenTek Revu Tools give you simple, one-click, repeatable outputs for every project throughout your entire firm.

That type of automation is exactly what you’re going to need to survive the coming years as prices go up, skilled office and field workers become scarce, and you need to reduce costs on every job. Paying employees more and raising prices on your clients will help, but there’s only so much increase the market can bear. The bulk of change will need to be borne by you and the only reliable way to do that will be with better technologies to help you be more efficient. Of course, as always, ZenTek Consultants will help you in every way possible along that journey!

Jim C.

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