As we step into the month of March, the madness isn’t only associated with college basketball…unless of course, you live in Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Virginia. Then brackets are everything!
For those of us in the northern climates, March Madness involves the anticipation of “getting out of the ground” with construction. If your schedule has worked out perfectly, the drawings were finished around Thanksgiving, the bidding occurred over the winter, shop drawings have taken place over the past month, and you are ready to rock and roll with construction. Chances are, your schedules haven’t been perfect. That’s where some additional madness comes into play.
In the Midwest, our March Madness stems from the question…”where have all the contractors and subcontractors gone?” We are seeing large swings in bids and overages in costs that are having a significant impact on projects. It seems that from 2008 until around 2013, only the strong survived, leaving less competition in almost all of the construction trades. As I manage projects from the provider/owner perspective, it is demotivating to reduce scope after the fact. As an architect, I completely understand the dilemma of cost estimating in this current environment, so I am not throwing stones at my fellow architects and contractors!
I believe one of the key strategies to confronting this March Madness is bracketing…the bracketing of the communication between architect, designer, owner and contractor. Sorry…I just couldn’t resist a well plantedplay on words. Our world is changing at a very fast pace and the more we communicate our challenges, our expectations and our solutions, the better. Collaboration will also enhance our communication. No one has all the answers…even in this volatile, political environment, it takes a huge effort in working together to survive the madness of this time of year.
If collaboration and communication don’t relieve some of the madness of March, go ahead and fill out your bracket. The Kansas Jayhawks have my vote!