After the massive loss of business, restrictions, and halts, the construction industry is getting back on track as the impact of the pandemic has reduced its grip. Though it is making way for new construction projects, commercial contractors still need to be extra cautious in order to meet project goals as we come into the “new normal”.
Even if, most contractors are planning to begin construction for all the projects they bid on or are currently in process, it will be extremely crucial to plan before they start since most of these projects will be running on thinner budgets than normal. Therefore, planning a quick start and faster finish strategy might turn into diminished profits and reduced cash flow control.
Since commercial construction involves so many unique tasks for contractors and project managers, it will be equally important for the contractors to look for budget concerns, deadlines, decision making, safety, and labor recruitments. This will constitute coming up with a vital strategy that contractors must follow to counter the pandemic ridden and regulation-heavy environment.
Let us quickly jump to a few tips that commercial contractors should keep in mind when planning for all upcoming projects, while aligning with the new normal.
Financial & Operational Planning
Delays and overspendings have always been the primary concern for construction firms. Given the effects of COVID-19, it is extremely important for contractors to prepare well for unwanted delays and disruptions to the projects. These either happen due to a shortage of labor resources or because of interruption caused to the supply chain.
Thus, the primary step that commercial contractors should take includes taking a financial and operational assessment of the projects. This will not only help to meet the liquidity goals but can also be used to define contract terms for any unexpected disruption in progress. Being proactive about the negotiations will also help contractors back up their projects with consistent supplies by having an approach to alternative vendors. This approach would help maintain project progress in the case that your existing vendors are operating from a region that is badly affected by COVID-19.
Also, contractors must communicate and stay in sync using construction accounting software to ensure timely assessment of finances and creating short-term liquidity benefits. This will also benefit contractors with retaining cash flow for their business and having a better approach to resource planning and management. For instance, keeping a check on material availability, inventory data, and equipment management could help to keep profits in proportion without affecting the viability of the projects.
Improving Contract Creation Process
To deal with the current circumstances in an effective manner, contractors have to work on their contract creation process. From contract provisions to terms of the project, contracts can be used to meet the profitability goals. Also, it may be necessary to insert force majeure provisions into the contract to avoid any unnecessary legal issues with the project owners with regards to the pandemic and its after-effects.
When project managers are aiming to generate business, it will be extremely important to aim for a well-defined contract creation development. Also, negotiations made to the contracts can work in the favor of project owners to address any unexpected circumstances. On top of this, contract terms canal so be used for business advantage, preventing any loss of payment due to disruption or change orders with the project.
This process can be simplified using construction project management software that allows contractors to define contracts for maximum feasibility and profit margins.
Employee Safety Planning
Construction is a risky industry and the spread of the COVID-19 has made the situation even more difficult. At present, it has become extremely important for the contractors to define new safety standards that can work for the safety of employees through better work arrangements and flexible work options. This may involve field teams to contribute through remote work while defining work patterns for the on-field employees.
Also, contractors should ensure that they adhere to the hygiene and social distancing regulations before they proceed with new projects. Moreover, contractors must plan to adopt new policies as well as additional safety guidelines to ensure labor safety and transparency within the organization.
Last but not least, contractors must aim to define a proper communication system between project managers, subcontractors, field teams, and project owners. This can help contractors exercise potential contract practices such as force majeure or claims over delays or change orders.
At all the points of the development process, it is entirely the responsibility of the contractors to keep project owners informed of the possible effects of the pandemic. Improved communication can also help the contractors have harmony with project owners when it comes to any disruptions.
Furthermore, contractors should also work to define subcontractor agreements on project terms related to safety and legal compliance. This will give subcontractors a window to report the contractors for any inefficiency which project managers have when meeting the defined standards.
All in all, the only focus of commercial construction contractors is to increase the pace of their business in order to drive revenue. Though it is natural to have uneasy feelings prompted by the business loss that has happened over the last few months, it is even more important to define the rules and protocols that can help to have a safe and healthy business moving forward.
Stay Safe! Good Luck!
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