Design-Building in a Tight Labor Market

Design-Building in a Tight Labor Market

Jewett Construction has had a strong start to 2015, with overall revenues up about 25 percent over the same period in 2014. And we’re not alone. Things are clearly looking up for the construction industry, but this burgeoning recovery has a troubling down side. Construction labor is hard to come by in virtually all the trades. And that could spell trouble.

“In general, myself and most of the contractors in New Hampshire are very busy,” Craig Jewett recently told the Manchester Union Leader. “We’re probably all struggling with a lack of construction labor. No different than any other business in the state of New Hampshire. Labor is key.”

However, here at Jewett we’ve found ways to perform around the current construction labor shortage by employing our design-build approach to construction projects. The success of the design-build approach is stressed in the early, ongoing and efficient communication between a fully integrated team of client, contractor, architect and sub-contractor teams. It’s an approach that helps in a number of ways with regard to design, budgeting and especially scheduling, helping to alleviate the labor pinch.

“The design-build approach to construction gives us control over all aspects of the project. We are able to leverage our design skills as part of the total project team to effectively communicate and coordinate with other trades, extract data to streamline installation, and model assemblies with extreme accuracy, for prefabrication off-site. All of these elements allow us to perform optimally and deliver value for our partners despite the ongoing labor market concerns. It’s a win-win for all involved,” said Jim Alibrandi, President of Interstate Electrical Services in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Early teamwork saves time and reduces rework and redesign which can throw off schedules and tie up labor. Buy-out and bidding are also streamlined with the design-build model, resulting in fast, accurate scheduling and getting us on our subcontractors’ calendars sooner—thus encouraging efficient use of a resource that’s in short supply. Additionally, working together to identify products with long lead times enables everyone to schedule or design around them.

Throughout the design-build process, we’re able to make changes to the construction build based on what we’re hearing from the teams in the field, adjusting as necessary to meet the needs of the project. The end result is a team success reflecting the efficient use of a scarce human resource to build the facility desired by our clients, on time and on budget.

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