Looking ahead

Happy New Year! During this time of year many of us pause to reflect on the year we just endured? survived? or thrived in. What lessons have we learned? How can we make next year better? It was a year of changes and challenges. 

I take this time to do ask myself the same questions. I look back with a critical eye to evaluate the failures and successes; and most importantly, the lessons learned to inform the planning and decisions for the year ahead. 

I have written extensively over the past year about the global market challenges that have impacted every aspect of construction – ranging from supply chain scheduling upheaval, increased material costs, and the reduced labor market. I have also done my best to offer on-going strategies to help mitigate costs and make projects a win-win for us all. 

Many of these strategies will be with us for the foreseeable future and have been successful this year. We have refocused on the core strengths that have helped us grow in the past – offering construction services to repeat clients in defined markets. We have seen our client list grow and diversify through these efforts. We have new clients engaging with us on repeat work ranging from medical offices to retail stores. I am glad to see a lot of new brands added to this list. 

We have been successful with this new work by attracting and retaining a great workforce. Without the efforts of our current staff and the addition of many talented people, much of this work would have not been possible. 

With the new clients we have earned, the clients we have retained, and our team in place, we are well positioned for the year ahead. There will be new challenges and we will be prepared to meet them. I predict many of the obstacles we faced in 2021 will remain in the year ahead. 

We will continue to have supply chain issues that hamper jobsite deliveries and alter schedules. I see no end to the labor issues as people continue to leave the trades or not join them at all. With the planned infrastructure spend over the next few years, we will see material and subcontractor shortage as more people are pulled into this essential work. The delays in permitting and plan approval may improve in some markets but the expected increase in project volume could make it worse. If the pandemic worsens, these issues will be exacerbated. 

Most of this is out of our control. However, like all things in life, we can control our response to it. Heading into 2022, it will continue to be important for our industry to collaborate. The owner, architect, engineer, general contractor, subcontractor and all other stakeholders will need to communicate openly and fairly to create viable solutions for project success. Instead of being siloed as in years past, we need to embrace the technological tools available to increase transparency and partnership. We need to trust each other and depend on the relationships we have all curated so carefully over the years. Now is the time when it pays off! 

I look forward to collaborating with you in 2022 and beyond to deliver successful projects for all parties. I know we can do it – if we work together.

Mitch Lapin

Mitch Lapin is President at Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. His responsibilities are to drive the growth of Fortney & Weygandt, Inc.’s general contracting service nationwide. Lapin works closely with Fortney & Weygandt’s Board of Directors, Management Team and all employees to serve clients and partners on all projects.