Last year at this time, we were grappling with supply chain shortages. Towards the end of 2022, there were fears that the economic slowdown would impact our region and our industry. Today, some of the country’s most admired brands deem North Texas the best place to work and live and we’re experiencing some of the greatest opportunities in our company’s history. That’s not to say there aren’t a new set of challenges that could impact your project. Read on to see the state of the industry and what we’re planning around to stay on schedule and on budget.
What’s remained readily available?
For the last three years, carpet, resilient flooring and base have been largely unaffected. Our research tells us that this is no accident. Flooring manufacturers produce in high volume so finding the right country, manufacturer or supplier to source components and raw materials from make all the difference.
It’s always nice to see when a massive issue has largely gone away. Not too long ago, it was nearly impossible to get metal studs and insulation. Today, it’s readily available and delivered in 4-6 weeks, tops.
What’s unchanged…and still a problem?
Lights are a major issue – one we see continuing for the foreseeable future. At least 50% of fixtures don’t make their promised shipping date and most shipping dates are longer than they were before the pandemic. In addition, smaller HVAC equipment like fan powered, variable air volume and fan coil units are still taking 4 to 8 weeks. We know how to plan around this and work closely with our subs to understand production, availability and ship times.
What’s still a massive issue?
Technology companies love calling North Texas home so it’s important to know that most Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC) units still have 40+ week lead times. Specialty units take over a year and some have no production dates assigned.
Factor in 6-12 months lead time for lighting and audio-visual controls and 4-6 months for electrical switchgear. Ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles seem to be a larger issue than ever before with most well over 8 weeks on a regular basis, regardless of whether they’re economical or specialty. To top off some of the biggest wait times, large air handler and roof top units still come with very long lead times and one can expect anywhere between 12 and 36 weeks in most cases.
It’s safe to say that the more technology and brains in the equipment, the longer it is going to take to get. So while we are in a better place than last year at this time, there are still some supply chain challenges to plan around.
The demand for high quality work, fixtures, materials and spaces remains high and no matter what shortages or timelines exist, we can deliver. Private company or Fortune 500, our clients want their spaces made to order. Our challenge – one we love to accept – is making their dreams on paper a reality. We love figuring out how to execute. As companies have adopted hybrid schedules and others go 100% remote, we’re building office spaces to be a place to impress your prospects, showcase products and services, and attract top talent. And for those coming in just a few days a week, a place that employees want to be. And perhaps the biggest post-pandemic trend is the emphasis on spaces that inspire collaboration. From meeting rooms, common areas to outdoor features, creating opportunities for people to interact and share ideas has been a priority for our clients.
Competition is also a big trend. There is so much growth in North Texas and competition for Class A space, we’re working with clients that are investing in Class B space to make it more competitive. We’re also seeing greater demand in Fort Worth where we’re growing our team and have completed some of our favorite projects of all time.
No matter what the year holds, staying on schedule has always been critical and with product shortages and market uncertainty, our focus on scheduling our projects strategically keeps our timelines on track and budgets in check. It also gives us the time and space to innovate and expand our portfolio. There’s no doubt that the last few years have been met with challenges our industry has never experienced before. Our ability to maintain world-class service while ensuring that we adapt, evolve and scale with the times will always set us apart.