An Interview With Stacy Price, Burns & McDonnell Regional Construction/Design-Build Manager
Q: What’s on the horizon for the construction industry in 2019?
A: We’ll see many of the trends we saw in 2018 remain and intensify in 2019. Technology is rapidly changing and will continue to impact the way we work, allowing for better tools and more mobile applications. The U.S. economy is strong, and we will see growth in the industry continue in 2019. However, the increase of projects is outpacing the industry’s ability to find skilled workers.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’re seeing across the industry and how do you tackle them?
A: The industry is experiencing a major labor shortage and it’s becoming harder for companies to attract new people with the large number of open positions. Our clients are facing an increase in project work, without enough staff to execute the work. That’s where we can step in to fill the gap and bring the right team to the job. We’re able to leverage a strong local and national network of construction professionals, subcontractors and partners to meet our clients’ needs.
An ongoing challenge we face in construction is keeping a large and diverse workforce safe on a project site. It takes the right people, the right plan and the right programs in place to maintain a strong culture and focus on safety. We build safety into every aspect of our projects, from kicking off every team meeting with a safety lesson to creating detailed plans to mitigating risks. Every project at Burns & McDonnell operates with the philosophy that zero incidents can be achieved with the right preparation, tools and follow-through.
With the large number of open projects and a need to rebuild or build new systems for our aging infrastructure, we’re using the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project delivery method to help clients mitigate risks, shorten project schedules and reduce costs. EPC project delivery establishes a unique environment for the client, design and construction team, where everyone has a seat at the table from the beginning and can gain a holistic vision for the project.
Q: How do you determine when to use the EPC method, and how can it be most successful?
A: When selecting the best approach for a project, there are several factors to consider: timeline, budget, risk, quality, resources and complexity. EPC should always be considered — particularly when projects have tight schedules, in-house resources are limited and/or complexity is high.
The EPC delivery method is most successful when there is a well-defined scope of work — clear goals and expectations that the project team can focus on from project start to finish. Applying an integrated team approach and bringing together the entire team — engineers, designers, construction professionals and environmental consultants — on day one of the project allows every specialty involved to gain a deep understanding of needs and expectations.