A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

What Will The New Normal Be, Anyway?

Wondering this morning what it will be this time.  We have heard phrases like, “It ain’t goin’ to be the same this time around.”  “I sure hope that it picks up soon.”  “Change is a comin!”  “It’s a new world this time around.”

Twenty years later and we are still hearing the same phrases thrown around.  I am still waiting to hear “Look to Heaven in '11!”

Jim Parsons, who blogs for ENR.com, wrote in an entry entitled Rebar Madness: Preparing for the New Normal, that those who are expecting the construction business to return to the levels of 2007 any time soon will likely be in for a rude awakening.

Parsons quotes Laura D’Ardenne, Manager of Sustainable Construction for PCL Constructors, who says that some changes are already in place.  According to D’Ardenne, 

“Owners are looking for knowledgeable contractors who can be part of process, and help them evaluate strategies.  Firms are also being called on to demonstrate their knowledge.  You can’t just say you know BIM or sustainability.  You need to show just how well you understand it, including how you’ve used it to improve your own operations.”

Parsons reports that D’Ardenne also says that “An intimate understanding of project delivery methods, P3s, and other financing options will also have to be standard equipment in contractor’s skill sets.”

This is a true “reset” happening at a time when owners, institutions and government agencies are beset with budget shortages, new government demands, and uncertainty – an uncertainty that is creating a vague feeling in everyone’s guts that the demands on the construction delivery systems, the materials and the industry itself will be considerable.

When you pile that on top of immigration issues, new healthcare benefits that are already going into effect, and the new wage theft and worker misclassification issues that are coming to a head, it looks like the “reset” will create an environment where the industry will be stretched even thinner and the demands for creative financing and design solutions will be the new normal.


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