With the pandemic entering a new phase, construction has boomed with what are now widely known as “megaprojects.” Every day, it feels like there’s a new stadium, microprocessor factory or some other massive project getting underway. The demand for this type of construction is quite real.
The federal government is in on this trend, too. The Biden Administration recently launched the Mega Construction Project Program. This initiative from the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has increased the number of federal megaprojects available to SMACNA member companies.
The program’s goal has been to ensure cooperation between the private and public sector to build the workforce needed for federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more. To fulfill the workforce need, OFCCP said it plans to collaborate with the General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation to provide on-the-ground assistance to contractors and subcontractors for recruitment and provide additional support for outreach and education.
But many megaprojects face delays due to ongoing supply chain issues, a lack of skilled labor, and cost issues. McKinsey and Co. reports 98 percent of current megaprojects face cost overruns and delays of up to 20 months.
As the labor shortage continues to impact the industry, management of these megaprojects and meeting critical deadlines are becoming worries for many SMACNA contractors. SMACNA members are struggling to keep their current market share while handling these new megaprojects and balancing the manning of other work. While moving labor from smaller jobs to larger ones is a short-term solution, finding a long-term one is critical.
SMACNA has a Megaprojects Task Force on the case, brainstorming ideas and discussing solutions. BE4ALL is also conducting a Pedal to the Metal Large and Megaproject Survey to help the association gather the impact these large projects are having on contractors, as well as the overall market. The survey examines issues surrounding workforce recruitment, training and labor interactions. This is how the association can benefit its members by immediately creating a brain trust backed by research to ensure members have answers when they need them most.
If you’re working on megaprojects and would like to share your challenges and solutions, send your thoughts to Nicole Wisniewski at email@example.com. We will continue to share best practices on these projects and report on the task force’s findings.
Tony Kocurek, SMACNA President