Our neighborhood participates in a private social network called Nextdoor. It has been fascinating to watch the different posts before and after IRMA made landfall and observing the differing attitudes among the posters regarding the contractors who answered the call when disaster struck South Florida in September.
I truly love reading the posts on Nextdoor and other social media platforms thanking our first responders and linemen who have had to abandon their own families to help ours get back up and running. Nothing saddens me more than when someone comments negatively if they see one of them taking any down time or in their opinion do not see them working fast enough, as though these hardworking men and women are undeserving of taking a breather.
The United States has a labor shortage in both residential and commercial has brought challenges for contractors for labor costs, material escalations and training due to just meeting supply and demand requires them to go geographically beyond what they had to do past. According to an article published in June of 2016 by AGC it is only a matter of time before the construction labor shortage cripples broader US economy.
The contractors are the ones who get you back up and running. They remodel your homes and businesses. They bring Architect and Engineering designs to reality. The management side knows how to navigate through the insurance, banking and legal aspects while the trade side uses their expertise, fortitude and brawn to build or repair it. These are the men and women that helped FPL remove trees, fix damaged signs, and upright the fallen poles that bring electricity to our homes. They removed debris, repaired roofs, fixed foundations and any other damage. Contractors work in unknown safety conditions and at all hours of the day and night. They perform these thankless tasks cheerfully, gladly supporting their communities because they love what they do.
Although companies like Florida Power and Light have an in- house construction division, the majority of lineman who make all repairs beyond the substation are contractors. On Pike Companies timeline you can see for yourself how these men and women put in countless hours making sure your back-up generators, heating and air conditioning systems, hot water tanks and more are correctly installed by trained professionals approved by FPL to provide installation services.
What can you do to help with our US Labor shortage? Appreciate, encourage and thank a contractor. Don’t discourage young adults to enter the trades if they feel called to join the ranks of professional engineers and contractors. Recognize the talents you may not have and value that others have them and are willing to serve you. Help a newly emigrated tradesperson acclimate to your area of the country and familiarize themselves with local culture and regulations for your area. Be realistic with your expectations of a contractor’s performance. You get what you pay for and sometimes that price is a faster execution and better buying power.
At Florida Construction Connection, although we specialize in helping the management that oversees these dedicated contractors, we hear many examples of the challenges these tradesmen face as they go about their daily tasks. Many of these dedicated individuals do not have the comfort of working in a temperature controlled office. Instead, they work in the trenches, under sinks, in attics and basements, with unpredictable safety and weather conditions because they love it. Have you thanked a contractor lately?
Want to help support your local contractors?
One of the ways you can give back is to donate to Construction Angels. They are first responders for the families of the 13 people a day in the US that die in construction related fatalities.