by Dave Hickey, SitelogIQ Northeast Director of Engineering, and Roshelle Fennell, SitelogIQ Northeast Director of Operations
High prices, material shortages, months-long material lead times – all of these have plagued construction sites, especially in the last few years. While the industry has seen supply chain issues rise and fall, one thing that’s for certain is there’s no anticipated finish line to when they will subside. At SitelogIQ, our experts have a deep understanding of current supply chain trends and what steps to take to ensure our projects continue on schedule and within budget.
Today’s Supply Chain Issues
From HVAC and electrical equipment to thermostats and emergency generators, many projects have been impacted by a range of supply chain issues. We’ve compiled a list of today’s most common materials with long lead times and/or increased prices:
Long Lead Times
Electrical and controls components, including switchgears and panels
Door access card readers
HVAC equipment, including chillers, boilers, and RTUs
HVAC controls – long lead times
Water coolers – long lead times
Glazing for windows
Stainless steel items, such as kitchen equipment
Each of these supply chain issues can result in higher project costs or delayed construction or both. For projects with tight budgets and strict schedules, such as K-12 school districts with limited funding and project schedules, particularly during the summer months before the school year begins, the project team must be able to quickly address the ongoing supply chain issues and provide solutions for owners while still delivering successful outcomes. Here’s how SitelogIQ is doing just that for our customers.
SitelogIQ Supply Chain Approach
Though it may sound like a simple solution, advanced planning is by far the most important and first step that our team takes to address potential supply chain obstacles. For materials with higher pricing, our team may recommend alternative solutions at a lower price to help maintain the customer’s budget. And for project materials with long lead times, our experts connect with manufacturers we have built strong partnerships with early on to capture anticipated delivery times and place orders earlier than usual to ensure that all necessary materials arrive on time.
However, even with advanced planning, the delivery of equipment or other materials may still be delayed. In that case, our team works with the owners and other contractors to quickly adjust the project schedule so other work can continue until those delayed pieces arrive.
While some supply chain issues have improved over the past year, others still present project challenges. SitelogIQ has moved our customer engagement and project engineering much earlier in the project cycle to account for increased delivery times. We work closely with our customers to identify long lead times and with our subcontractors to place orders much earlier in the delivery process than we used to. We also monitor delivery times with our subcontractors as we may have to shift resources if a product delivery will be later than planned. Good communication with our clients and our subcontractors is vital to keeping the project on track
– Brian Carroll, SitelogIQ VP of Operations
Another key solution is constant communication. With owners, contractors, manufacturers, and other partners, our team stays on top of communicating any changes or needs in order to quickly adapt when addressing supply chain issues. It feels like something is missing here. How do we communicate – method, frequency, with whom, etc?
Advice for Owners
While these are obstacles our team is noticing today, it’s important to keep in mind that supply chain issues seem to change all the time based on market conditions. They’re a moving target; as some materials start to lower in price and lead time, others increase. However, it’s not known just when the industry will begin experiencing fewer supply chain issues, so it’s important for owners and project teams to always be prepared to address potential obstacles and pivot quickly to find solutions. Here are a few ways owners can be prepared for their upcoming projects:
Begin the design process earlier than before; this will provide additional time to look ahead at the current pricing and lead times of materials and equipment and make plans or adjustments as needed.
Be open to pre-purchasing of equipment prior to the project being designed. This flexibility will help the project team be equipped with alternative solutions should they run into limited availability or long lead times for equipment.
Be open to a large variety of manufacturers that meet the design intent. While you may have preferred manufacturers, their availability may constantly change. It’s important to be open to other manufacturers, especially those with whom your project team has built strong relationships, to ensure you secure the equipment and materials needed for the project, and that those products are within your budget and schedule.
Be ready to adapt if products don’t arrive on time. Even with the best-advanced planning, unknowns can occur that delay the delivery of products. This may require adjusting the project schedule to keep other work continuing until those products arrive. Flexibility to quickly make these adjustments will help keep your project on schedule.
At SitelogIQ, our team of facility experts has successfully overcome various project challenges due to supply chain issues, ensuring that we meet their budget and schedule. From K-12 schools, higher education institutions, healthcare facilities, local/state government buildings, multi-family homes, shopping centers, warehouses, and offices, we understand that each project is unique. We work closely with you through each step of the project to ensure we exceed expectations. Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you making your buildings better.
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