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The Challenge Value of Getting Things Built

By Ken Lambert, CSI posted 28 days ago

Those of us who have been in the construction industry for more than 10 or 15 years know that getting a building to Certificate Occupancy status is now a lot harder than it used to be. 

With commercial construction (and I’ll include multifamily buildings within this), there is always a delicate balance, and it seems like that balance is more complicated and tedious now more than ever. 

Construction projects are always faced with the same potential conflicts and stresses related to schedule, budget, safety, and functions as intended by the contract documents. 

Add to these some considerations that have become especially important over the past four to five years: 
  • Complying with more stringent energy codes and bylaws (2021 IECC, net zero carbon provisions)
  • Complying with various other “green,” Red List, EPD, and embodied carbon provisions
  • Increasing/volatile supply chain logistics 

Here's one more that I’ll add. If you ask any contractor, they will tell you that the project schedules have become tighter and shorter over the past 10 to 15 years. Where it was once acceptable to complete a building in 15 months, it must now be finished in 12 months. That requirement comes directly from the owner, developer, or lenders. In other words, perform the same work in less time. 

Complying with all these considerations, much less making a sustainable company profit, is far from easy. Viable and growing construction managers and general contractors have a lot to juggle, more so now in recent history. These companies and their employees need to try to work more efficiently and to be constantly learning and improving. That’s easy to say, but hard to do. 

While architects, specifiers, and product representatives may not be faced with all these challenges directly on a daily basis, they should ideally do what they can to help facilitate the efforts of the contractor (within reason). This takes a bit more of a partnership mentality perhaps. I believe this is already happening in the marketplace in many cases. 

For construction volumes to continue to increase, the entire AECO community will need to raise their game now and over the forthcoming years.