Building or remodeling a home is already a challenge, without the added uncertainties that a global pandemic can contribute. Mother nature can wreak havoc with familiar foes like freezing conditions, hurricane season, tornados, and a host of other unpredictable natural events. We can now add the microscopic to her arsenal of building delay tactics.
We are approaching two years of the viruses’ presence globally, its effects are still rippling through virtually every industry in this country, while wreaking havoc in the construction industry. The challenges being faced by the building professionals and suppliers are numerous. There are raw materials shortages and labor shortages on both the manufacturing and installation fronts. Shipping has become a major issue both domestically and internationally as freight rates have skyrocketed and the availability of drivers and seaport personnel has plummeted with workers being concerned for their health. This has led to inconsistent timelines and frequent delays in the delivery of the materials required to complete projects. Everything from timber to cement, windows to cabinetry, and appliances has been impacted. The challenge to stay on schedule and on budget is significant as builders and remodelers grapple with issues mostly out of their control.
How Professionals can Prepare for Construction During a Pandemic
During this ever-changing landscape, it is vital for professionals to find ways to be both efficient and safe. Mandating masks and switching to appointment only client engagement has allowed showrooms to pay better attention to their clients by staggering visitors and simultaneously reducing the risk of infection. Zoom or virtual meetings with the retail client or B2B relationship is another way to save time and allow for risk free interaction. This gives the seller access to their client and allows them to discuss plans, show materials and make important decisions that will affect how the project unfolds.
From the wholesale perspective it is critical that the seller works closely with its suppliers to keep track of the following key project elements:
- Inventory positions
- Production and shipping timelines
- Cost and expense changes
- Product quality control and inspection
Quality is especially critical as it can suffer when stress is put on the distribution channel for all the aforementioned reasons. It’s important to partner with a business that has established relationships with its vendors. Strong vendor relationships can be the key to counteracting pandemic concerns and delivering a consistent end-product for the customer.
Persistent and detail-oriented communication across all levels of the transaction are vital to minimize the effects of unforeseen issues and last minute adjustments. Asking questions, anticipating concerns, and disseminating information are all an effective part of this process. Without a method and a proven way to accomplish it, best laid plans can sometimes remain just that.
How Consumers can Prepare for Construction During a Pandemic
As a consumer, there are several things you can do in your building/remodeling process to ensure you avoid delays and prepare for other challenges brought on by the pandemic’s effects.
Research & Select a Reputable Firm
First, we recommend doing your research and selecting a reputable, experienced firm to work with. This can make all the difference in the world. Your satisfaction with your project after completions starts with how you view and select materials, review presented plans, outline timelines, and ensure the quality.
Finalize Construction Decisions
Finalize your decision making early in the process. This will allow your firm to be as prepared as possible with a more predictable timeline that will ease your stress. Plans can still come to fruition if the proper time is allotted, and actions are orchestrated properly.
Mitigate Changes During Construction
Mitigating your changes during the process can also have a significant impact. As the construction industry faces manufacturing delays, materials are being ordered well before they normally would be. When changes occur late in the process, it can add weeks or even months to the projected finish date. Conduct your due diligence up front, stick to your plans whenever possible and allow your trusted professional to do their job.
At Gulf Cabinetry, we are not immune to all the issues described above. We do however place an extremely high value on the ways described to combat potential pandemic concerns. We bring our experience, determination and core values to every client relationship and leverage our vendor agreements to provide the best and most consistent service possible.
To learn more about our process, and how we can help you or your client navigate today’s industry-wide obstacles, contact us at 813-652-0938.