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Insights from Colorado: As inflation and labor/material shortages continue to rise, what counsel can strategic partners provide owners about increasing costs?

Our team sees firsthand how inflation and labor and materials shortages impact the built environment. As part of our mission to remain a dedicated, strategic partner to our clients, we’ve gathered insights from our partners across the country in the construction and consulting arenas about how owners can best continue navigating these challenges and ensuring project success.

In part two of our 3-part series, our Colorado education team shares their perspective on the impact increased costs and labor and material shortages have on project owners. Continue reading for counsel from Josh Grenier, partner at Wold Architects and Engineers, Felix Rojas, pre-construction manager at FCI Constructors, Inc. and John H. Sattler, preside​nt at Diversified Consulting Solutions, Inc. about how to navigate the current environment.

Insights from architecture partner, Wold Architects and Engineers:

Prior to setting a project in motion, it is important to invest time and energy into gauging your specific market. There are many variables at play that make each situation unique. For example, is the project in a rural/ remote area? How large is the project? Are there owner required schedule constraints? The project delivery strategy needs to be unique for each situation. The project predesign partners (owner's reps, internal project managers and architects) should reach out to as many builders as possible prior to establishing the project delivery plan. This outreach helps understand the contractor and subcontractor interest level, scheduling constraints, etc. Once design has started, it is important to leverage learnings from market research as materials and building systems are being selected. By being flexible and conducting market research, your team can strategize the right project delivery method, schedule, and design to hit the market to lower risk.

Josh Grenier, AIA, M. ED | Partner

Insights from construction partner, FCI Constructors, Inc.:

Target materials like masonry that are readily available have seen reduced inflationary costs. Recognize materials and equipment that have milestone increases. Rooftop Units (RTUs), for example, typically go up in December, so it’s beneficial to get them ordered early. Be prepared to strategize ways to phase a project to allow for increased construction time due to labor shortages. This reduces the amount of premium or overtime work it takes to complete a project. It is also important to develop RFP strategies that award key subcontractor trades early. This helps ensure labor forces are available to support the project when it’s ready to build. Hard bidding the work to subcontractors can leave you at the mercy of the market.

Felix Rojas | Pre-Construction Manager

Insights from consulting partner, Diversified Consulting Solutions, Inc. (DCS):

Owners need to be focused and flexible to best position their projects for success. This means they must ensure the project scope is directly related to mission-critical features and needs that are closely tied to the performance metrics. In education spaces, it’s important to prioritize the educational strategy of the schools and closely assess extra space and room for growth needs.

Flexibility is important to develop bid alternates and strategies to better manage cost and schedule risks, including but not limited to evaluating completion dates that do not align with traditional educational calendars. There may be some short-term inconveniences created by a less-than-ideal start date, but we've learned through COVID-19 that our ability to be flexible is an advantage in uncertain and challenging times.

John H. Sattler | Preside​nt

This article is part two of a 3-part series on inflation and the labor/materials shortage happening around the country. Read part one from our Minnesota team’s strategic partners here and part three from our Illinois team’s strategic partners here.

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