The Importance of Construction Management Due to Labor Shortages

The Importance of Construction Management Due to Labor Shortages

If you are in the process of looking for a construction company to facilitate the entire process of your project, you have a big decision ahead of you. Your first reaction may be to hire the largest construction company you can find. It is a fair reaction but often misguided. The size of a construction company doesn’t always translate to the size of your project. Many mid-sized construction companies can handle sizeable jobs more efficiently.

This has been especially true due to the recession. While we are sure you’ve been wanting to forget the market collapse in 2008/2009, the fact remains that it created lasting impacts on a number of industries, one being construction.

When the market collapsed, numerous construction workers lost their jobs. This was across the industry from electrical workers, to sheet metal workers, to masons. Many others in the construction industry chose to leave because all signs pointed to a very slow recovery. Overall, approximately 50 percent of the construction industry labor force left after the recession. In the Chicago metro area, construction workforce dropped dramatically from 29,600 in 2008 to 18,100 in 2011. Currently, we are sitting at about three-quarters of what the workforce was pre-recession.

For some companies, the shortages are manageable but only due to non-traditional methods such as employing the workforce before projects are started, pulling in “traveler” workers from other cities and states, guaranteeing overtime, and directly employing craft workers. Unfortunately demand for construction is only expected to increase making labor shortages more problematic in the near future.

Additionally, the workforce is aging with the median age of the construction worker up to 40 in 2010, as opposed to 37.8 in 2000. A huge reason for this was due to the stoppage of 90 percent of apprenticeship programs. While many programs are back in full swing, the output isn’t immediate.

As you have probably surmised from the labor shortage facts, choosing a construction company can have a significant impact on your actual project even from a labor output standpoint. If a construction company has low labor numbers and higher project counts, you can see where this would become a problem in terms of delays. This has created a tendency for a much slower turnaround time on projects. The labor shortages make hiring the right construction company even more important.

It is crucial for companies looking for a construction partner to choose someone that is well versed at planning and managing construction projects. Proper planning and management is truly the only way to meet construction turnaround times while remaining in budget and keeping quality at the forefront.

Our advice to you while looking for a construction company for your next project is to obviously contact us, but also check the number of superintendents versus the number of job sites a construction company is handling. By doing this, you can get a good picture of the company’s workload and if they would be able to manage your project.