Q1 2022 Economic Indicators

Q1 2022 Economic Indicators In our last issue of the Economic Indicator Report, I cited several issues that will dramatically impact the economy in 2022. Specifically, 4 issues were noted by Anirban Basu, Chief Economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors Association:

  1. less growth in federal spending,
  2. ongoing global supply chain disruptions,
  3. rampant worker shortages, and
  4. an increasing cost of capital.

Implied but missing from the list above is inflation. Because our clients will face inflation challenges, we plan to present specific job cost data throughout 2022 and 2023. Every chance we get to reprice a project, we will share our findings.

This quarter’s case study today is a hotel – the same hotel brand; basically, the same building – built between March 2019 and March 2020 and then repriced in May 2022 (2 years apart). The costs exclude all site work costs to keep the percentage increases as close to apples-to-apples as possible. Over those two years, we experienced and shared with our repeat client a 38% increase in total project cost

Here are few key components of that increase:

I started by looking at structural elements:

  • Concrete +95%
  • Masonry +74%
  • Structural steel +49%
  • Carpentry and Framing +117%

Then I immediately jumped to the MEP trades:

  • Fire Protection +140%
  • Plumbing +19%
  • Electrical +4% (we eliminated the structured cabling)
  • Mechanical +75%

We have achieved an overall increase of 38% by finding other ways to reduce scope and find additional efficiencies. It is important to note that this is the same hotel brand; however, design changes were made with the final budget in mind. I am afraid that a true building to building comparison would have resulted in some factor much greater than 38%.

In preparation for our next EI issue, we will rebid a set of drawings for a project that we bid and built 1 year ago. I look forward to learning and sharing these results.

Miles-McClellan General Superintendent, Steve Johnson, Shares Advice for Owners as They Start a Construction Project

Building Excellence requires communication, collaboration and connection. As part of your IMMPact team, it’s my job and my commitment to you to set the right expectations and gain your trust as you approach your construction project. You can have the confidence in knowing that the success of your project is as important to us as it is to you. We take pride in the final product, and if my name is behind the building, you can be assured I will do everything possible to make sure the work is done right and on time and budget.

Your best money and time spent is during the pre-construction. Everyone has their own opinions about how to get projects done, so creating a shared vision and plan is a great starting point. This can be accomplished by walking the property early in the process, as well as after drawings are completed, to make adjustments and to get on the same page prior to project approval and permit submissions. Once construction begins, it’s very difficult to stop or change, so let me share some tips on creating the vision and expectations for your project before construction begins.

Have a Blueprint for Construction Success

Nothing slows down construction progress more than change orders and revisions. Therefore, it is important to have your drawings complete prior to starting construction. Avoid changing the plan if possible. Finalize the details of your project early on to ensure it is “buildable” and to provide more inclusive plans to sub-contractors, so they can provide their most accurate bids.

One thing to consider before starting construction is that unforeseen circumstances are bound to happen. They always do. So, trusting your construction team and making sure there is enough contingency in the budget can help to avoid uncomfortable conversations and surprises throughout the process.

Be Realistic About Your Involvement in the Construction Process

Construction is time-consuming. Be realistic in assessing how much time you can devote to the project and be sure to choose a contractor you trust so you can give the right amount of attention to your project and to your company’s operations and overall well-being.

Don’t Judge a Bid by Its Cover Price

My mother always told me, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Seemingly minor details can significantly affect the price you pay in the end. For example, a low bid may look attractive on the surface, but it may not include things like materials and installation costs. Make sure to ask questions about what is included in the pricing and where the project team costs can be found. You will need to be able to put each bid into perspective to accurately assess whether you are getting a fair price per square foot. Working with a construction company you trust can avoid costly surprises.

Ask Questions About Your Project — Lots of Questions!

Clear communication is vital in any partnership, and we know you need a clear picture of what is happening with your investment. As construction professionals, we sometimes use industry jargon or explain techniques and processes using technical terms. It’s a second language to us, and we often forget that we are speaking a language not everyone knows. So, ask questions! Ask until you understand the answer! Ask until you have no more questions! Your construction team should guide you through the process and take the time to explain everything so everyone is on the same page and there aren’t any assumptions that can turn negative.

Remember, your project’s success is also a personal success to every construction professional who works on your facility. Your team at Miles-McClellan wants to make sure your project is set up for success from the very beginning. We are on your side. That’s why Miles-McClellan strives for Building Excellence through relationships with communication, collaboration and connection that results in exceeding client expectations.

Contact Miles-McClellan to learn more about how we strive to resolve issues before they become problems.

Miles-McClellan Construction Helps Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Advance City’s Sustainability Goals with New LEED-Certified Station

CMPD University City Division facility

When the city of Charlotte, NC set out to replace its leased University City Division Police Department building with a permanent facility, they did so with a goal to enhance the quality of life for Charlotte residents and department employees and to meet the city’s ambitious sustainability goals.

Reducing environmental stress and improving employee safety and wellbeing were priorities for CMPD. The CMPD University City Division relied on the experts at Miles-McClellan Construction to deliver sustainable solutions that would help them earn LEED certification at their new space.

LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability, achievement and leadership, and LEED-certified buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people. To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality.

Miles-McClellan got to work building the 16,000-square-foot, two-story police station implementing green construction processes and sustainable features including UV solar panels, underground rainwater management, high efficiency geothermal heating and cooling systems, advanced thermal and moisture protection on the building envelope, construction waste diversion from landfills and the use of recycled materials for construction.

In addition, the new police station encourages green initiatives with access to transit, bicycle facilities, green vehicle parking, electric vehicle charging stations, a green cleaning and integrated pest management policy, an optimized mechanical system for energy performance, low emitting materials, interior lighting controls and low-flow water fixtures.

The health and safety of CMPD employees was crucial in the design of the police station as well. Not only does the building provide enhanced indoor air quality and access to health and fitness, but reinforced concrete walls, insulating concrete forms, structural steel, steel joists and metal deck roof framing offer a solid, efficient and safe structure for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “The place is literally bulletproof,” said Steve Parsons, Miles-McClellan’s director of field operations.

The project received LEED Gold certification and is projected to have total energy cost savings that will be greater than 59%, resulting in an economic benefit to the city and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions — and the Miles-McClellan Construction project came in on budget with zero safety violations.

“Our newly certified LEED facilities will accommodate the current and future needs of CMPD and further advance the city’s sustainability goals,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “These achievements mean we truly are setting the example for a low-carbon and resilient future while increasing the quality of life for all Charlotte residents.”

Miles-McClellan is proud of our work leading this environmentally friendly initiative. With every project, we are on a mission to improve communities and the lives of the residents that reside in them.

CMPD University City Division facility interior

“It’s critical for CMPD to be on the cutting edge when it comes to our facilities. Employee wellness is a CORE 4 strategic priority for the department. Our state-of-the-art LEED-certified facilities feature healthy and cost-saving green technology to make sure we’re providing the best possible workplaces for our employees.”

– CMPD Police Chief Johnny Jennings

How can we help you protect the environment and the residents in your community? Contact Miles-McClellan Construction to learn more about LEED-approved design features and let’s work together to build excellence on your next project!

We build success by Building Excellence!

Q4 2021 Economic Indicators

Q3 2021 Economic Indicators The following is an excellent summary of what 2022 will bring to our industry, as written by Anirban Basu, Chief Economist for Associated Builders and Contractors, in December 2021.

“After the dramatic pace of economic recovery that characterized 2020’s final eight months and the early months of 2021, economic growth is set to soften in 2022. While recession appears unlikely in the near-term, there are many factors suggesting that the year to come will not produce a further boom in activity.

“Among these factors are:

  1. Less growth in federal spending;
  2. Ongoing global supply chain disruptions; and
  3. Rampant worker shortages.

“While there may be some alleviation of the challenges produced by the latter two factors, the economy will continue to face substantial headwinds.

“With so much going on, it is simple to forget what really matters. More than anything else, economic activity is driven by flows of capital. That capital could become more expansive in 2022 as monetary policy shifts, producing likely increases in interest rates in the process. With so many economic actors so fully leveraged, even small increases in interest rates can produce substantial drag on the economy. A sudden surge in borrowing costs could be enough to throw the 2022 economy into reverse, though such a surge appears unlikely. Still, contractors and other construction industry stakeholders should be eyeing interest rates closely over the year(s) to come.”

Miles-McClellan is experiencing all three factors listed above. However, our backlog remains very strong. There continue to be more opportunities available than we can pursue because of our internal bottleneck of lacking team availability.

While it is challenging, we will continue to focus on our client’s needs and work hard to NOT over-promise and under-deliver!

Basu, A. (2021, December 1). 2022 Construction Economic Forecast – The Recovery Could Have Been So Much Better. Retrieved from constructionexec.com : https://constructionexec.com/article/2022-construction-economic-forecast

Miles-McClellan Is Building Excellence With People

Miles-McClellan Is Building Excellence With People

While technically speaking, all our construction projects start with building materials at a job site. Our projects really start with our incredible employees who come together to form experienced and reliable teams that plan, facilitate and complete dynamic projects that are customer-centric.

So how does Miles-McClellan Construction (MMC) stand above the rest?

With our hands – Our team uses our hands to build quality structures and each project has our unique MMC thumbprint on it. Our construction projects are a major part of our clients’ stories and our company’s story and legacy.

With our heads – We offer our employees opportunities for career and leadership development, which help them with planning and problem-solving in their positions.

With our heart – The positive impact our projects make for people in local communities means everything to us. Client satisfaction is of paramount importance; it guides our work and recruitment. We believe in hiring the best people who will bring their valuable experiences and skill set to every project. Combine this with a purpose-driven heart and you have the answer to why Miles-McClellan has been a leader in commercial construction for over four decades (and counting!).

We are proud of our relationships with our employees and our clients. Simply put, pride is why we do it!

Below are a few ways Miles-McClellan distinguishes itself from other commercial construction companies with how we approach our team, starting with recruitment. Building excellence starts with attracting and supporting excellent employees.

Recruit and Develop Leaders on Our Strong Foundation

One of the best ways to sustain and grow a business is from within. Successfully recruiting talented individuals to join our team is not just about filling a specific position in the present. When we recruit and interview applicants, we focus on their current skillset and experience and their future potential. By seeing the talent and potential of our employees, we provide opportunities for them to develop into leaders at Miles-McClellan, which translates to employees and senior management being on the same page. For example, we work with the Builders Exchange of Central Ohio to provide leadership classes for some of our employees called BXFlex (Field Excellence Leadership Series). Just like we envision the potential of our projects and our employees.

Provide Career Path Development

When a job feels static with little or no opportunity to grow in a company, that can negatively affect employees’ work production and morale. That’s why we pride ourselves on providing career path development. Employees who will feel their work is appreciated and that there are chances for promotions and increased responsibility positively impacts their work and the company. Investing in our people for the long-term is an investment we make in them, and we make to drive building excellence for our clients.

Personal Ownership of Projects

Miles-McClellan ensures our expectations and our clients’ expectations are always being met by taking personal ownership of projects. When people feel personally responsible for getting something done, large or small, it promotes a culture of excellence. Our IMMPact approach illustrates this point of personal ownership by emphasizing knowledge sharing, which allows our team members to trust one another and hold each other accountable throughout a project life cycle.

Client Reassurances

Investing in our people is an investment in our clients’ projects. This level of continued investment and support directly correlates to our more than four decades of building excellence in Ohio and North Carolina. There are many non-tangibles that go into constructing a facility and we make sure to account for these factors to ensure we are always doing things the right way.

We take a lot of pride in our work at Miles-McClellan; it’s why we do it! And our pride is visible in every level of our company and with our great employees throughout their career experiences and development. Miles-McClellan strives for building excellence for a better community, for you.

Miles-McClellan Helps North Carolina Town Navigate Rapid Growth Enhancing Peace of Mind and Recreational Opportunities

Mooresville, NC

The Town of Mooresville, NC has more than doubled over the last 20 years. The population has grown from 32,711 in 2010 to 50,193 in the last decade alone, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. With this rapid growth, the city had to expand its services protect and improve the lives of its citizens.

After being granted $46.5 million in limited obligation bonds from The Local Government Commission to improve public safety and services, the Town of Mooresville contracted Miles-McClellan to design and build a new $3.5 million fire station and training center. Fire Station No. 6 is 13,000 square feet and will feature two engine bays, locker rooms, sleep quarters, administrative offices, a full kitchen, conference space and an outdoor patio.

Although the project is progressing nicely today (check out the progress on our live webcam), it did not come without challenges. The fire station was scheduled to be presented to the Board in March of 2020, but the North Carolina government locked down due to COVID-19, and Mooresville halted spending on all new projects. The Fire House 6 project was delayed until February 2021. During the delay, many material shortages and price increases occurred in the construction industry, but with the collective hard work of Miles-McClellan, the design team and the Town of Mooresville, Miles-McClellan was able to deliver the same product at a similar price and construction continues to move forward.

In addition to Fire Station No. 6, Miles-McClellan has worked with the town to enhance cultural and recreational opportunities for all the citizens of Mooresville. The company was awarded the $3 million Selma Burke Center Renovation, which was a high priority project for Mooresville’s Parks and Recreation Department. The renovation consisted of some “tricky elements,” according to Chris Wyckoff, Mooresville’s facilities and construction manager, like combining existing structures into one elemental structure. Miles-McClellan also managed the site work (landscape, furnishings and signage), renovations to the existing gymnasium with new basketball courts, a new playground and picnic shelter and a new 8,000 square foot, prefabricated multi-purpose building with classrooms.

“Their ability to work with our needs and sub-contractors, as well as control a project through difficult weather was spot-on,” says Wyckoff.

Miles-McClellan also managed the town’s Art Depot renovation, a historic building dating back to the 1970s, bringing the facility up to ADA standards and allowing the Art Guild to utilize their warehouse areas, featuring open beams and heavy barn doors, in a way previously not possible.

Miles-McClellan projects don’t just enhance the lives of the two-legged residents of Mooresville, they also help some 4-legged residents with the development of The Officer Jordan H. Sheldon Memorial Dog Park in Cornelius Park. The dog park is dedicated to a fallen K-9 officer who was killed in the line of duty. Wyckoff says the work on the dog park “led to a great moment of healing and happiness for the town, the family and the police department.”

“Working with Miles-McClellan on Fire Station No. 6 has been a great team experience all the way through design and now well into construction. They have demonstrated their ability to perform on previous projects and have continued to deliver. It is great working with a contractor who you can trust also wants to be a steward of tax-payer dollars and do right for all stake-holders.”
Christopher Wyckoff
Facilities & Construction Director
The Town of Mooresville

Q3 2021 Economic Indicators

Q3 2021 Economic Indicators It’s always interesting to watch the trends of construction’s big four leading economic indicators while comparing those results to our conversations with our designer and contractor peers. Overwhelmingly, the discussions focus on inflation – both in material and labor inputs. Yet, the amount of work in the system continues to expand.

  • The AIA Billing Index rose nominally from 55.6 to 56.6, indicating that architects billed more in September than in August 2021. More importantly, backlogs of architects across the country reached a new all-time high since the AIA started collecting the data quarterly in late 2010, now averaging 6.6 months.
  • One additional note worth mentioning from the AIA September survey is that the Project Inquiries Index jumped above 60 to 62.0, which tells us there are plenty of opportunities in the market to pursue.
  • 17 new projects, each $100 million and greater, entered the Dodge tracking system.
  • The Dodge Momentum Index jumped from 148.0 in August to 164.9 in September 2021. This is the single strongest predictor of our market over the upcoming 12 months.
  • While the ABC Backlog Indicator fell nominally from 7.7 to 7.6 months, Miles-McClellan’s backlog, as well as those backlogs of our contemporaries here in Ohio and North Carolina, all remain strong.

All the signs outlined suggest that owners and developers are looking past the current pricing concerns, the continued spread of COVID-19 variants, and the political climate are moving forward with projects to meet demand.

Relationship Lessons Learned – How to Develop Lifelong Clients in the Construction Industry

With over 43 years of experience in the construction industry, Miles-McClellan Construction has learned valuable lessons about building lasting relationships with partners and clients. Our focusing on building strong relationships has resulted in many positive outcomes:

  • 85% repeat clients by volume
  • $71 million average annual sales volume
  • 10-year average employee tenure
  • Long-lasting success, even through difficult times

Our success in building trust with those we work with is no accident. It’s part of who we are and who we have always intended to be. So, what exactly do we do to cultivate trusting relationships?

How Miles-McClellan Cultivates Trusting Client Relationships

Focus on Positivity When Working With Clients and Partners

Negativity often seems to dominate the news headlines, social media chatter, and public discourse. Many people experience negativity seeping into their workplace, family life or social life. Negativity is pervasive – so why not stand out by being a source of positivity?

By focusing on the good, it’s far easier to stand out to your clients and partners. That’s not to say that negative things never happen or that they should be swept under the rug. Being candid and open is important but staying stuck on the negative is counterproductive. By actively focusing on genuine and positive interactions, we notice that we build better and more productive relationships.

Don’t Forget to Show Gratitude.
One important aspect of positivity we try to practice is showing gratitude, which can easily be taken for granted when busy. This includes gratitude to our clients and our colleagues and can be accomplished with small and simple ways of saying thanks, like emails, hand-written notes, small gifts or favors, highlighting the individual or organization’s accomplishments, or by sharing time over lunch.

Always Act with High Integrity
Integrity is one of our core values—and it contributes greatly to our ability to provide excellent customer service. When we communicate proactively, tell the truth, keep our word, act fairly and take responsibility for our actions, our clients see those behaviors as representing integrity. Practicing integrity isn’t always easy, but it always pays off in the long run.

The most important reason integrity is so critical to building long-lasting relationships is that it forms the foundation of trust. By showing clients and partners that we act with integrity through our day-to-day actions, we cultivate the type of trust needed to build repeat, long-lasting client relationships.

At Miles-McClellan, we practice integrity by focusing on:

  • Being true to our word — always
  • Being intensely loyal to our colleagues, clients and partners
  • Being honest and straightforward
  • Taking personal responsibility for the successes of our projects
  • Not taking shortcuts when it comes to problem solving
  • Taking pride in the quality of our work

Focus on Long-Term Sustainability Instead of Shortsighted Goals
So many organizations these days focus heavily on short-term goals. A lot of being long-term focused comes down to not forgetting about the bigger things that matter amidst day-to-day work. By not being exclusively short-term focused, we can once again stand out from other organizations while laying the groundwork that ensures our success down the road.

By taking a step back and focusing on the longer term, we allow ourselves to cultivate relationships, develop new capabilities and strengths and be proactive in managing risks, both on the job site and in the office. Our long-term approach allows us to:

  • Be actively involved in our community Invest in our own workforce and cultivate a culture of taking care of each other
  • Stay up to date on trends and new opportunities to proactively stay ahead of our peers
  • Actively build relationships with everyone we work with, even if there is no immediate reward or benefit
  • Focus on integrity, quality and service at all times

These strategies improve the quality of our work and relationships and help to ensure high continuity within our workforce. This leads to less client turnover, less disruption and higher overall satisfaction.

Focus on Beating Expectations in Client Service
Finally, beating client expectations in service is one of our founding principles. Our founders walked away from large international construction companies because they believed there was a better way to deliver construction services. There was a key component missing in the construction industry – customer service.

By building Miles-McClellan from the ground up with customer service at our core, we’ve separated ourselves from most other construction companies in the best way possible. This not only enables better relationships with our customers, but by aligning our model around our IMMPact Approach, we reduce bureaucracy, decrease miscommunication and improve the overall quality of the work we provide our long-term clients.

By building long-term relationships we are building excellence. Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities.

Construction Momentum and Development Remains Hot Going Into the 4th Quarter of 2021

Every economic indicator for construction tracked by Miles-McClellan indicates strong growth in the most recent quarter, and a strong likelihood of continued growth heading into the 4th quarter of 2021.

To get a read on commercial and industrial construction, Miles-McClellan looks at:

  • ABC Construction Backlog: Amount of commercial construction to be performed in coming months.
  • AIA Architectural Billing Index: The Architecture Billings Index is an economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity, with a lead time of approximately 9–12 months.
  • FMI Non-Residential Construction Index: This index is an indicator that provides a leading look into construction projects.
  • Dodge Momentum Index: A unique 12-month leading indicator of construction spending for nonresidential building.

Accelerating Growth and Demand in Construction
From the above publications, not only are all the indicators quite far into “growth” territory, they have all been accelerating on a quarterly basis. The Architectural Billing Index and Dodge Momentum Index decreased slightly in June but are still very far into growth territory.

Construction Outlook for Q4 2021 Going into 2022
Based on the reports, we believe that barring any unforeseen shock to the economy, construction demand will remain very strong in the coming quarters. Lowered costs of financing have allowed many projects that were previously delayed to get started, and many of the COVID-19 oriented constraints have started to ease.

As a result, overall growth remains strong, and the previous issues of bottlenecks have become less of a burden to the construction industry. The largest constraint to the construction industry continues to be labor shortages and escalated pricing.

Are We at Peak Construction Growth?
One question some may be asking is whether we have hit peak construction growth. Many of the indicators tracked within this report have hit highs not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis. Keep in mind, peak growth does not mean that a decline in the growth rate entails contraction, just that the rate of growth is not accelerating beyond the current pace.

Questions over peak growth stem from lingering COVID-19 bottlenecks, reduction in consumer confidence due to many of the consumer stimulus programs winding down, and anticipation of rising interest rates in the future as the economy recovers and government / central bank policies become less accommodative.

While we don’t know whether we’ve hit peak growth yet, the indicators we watch have a long lead time, and provide a lot of confidence that the environment should be in “growth” mode for some time to come. With that said, we may see growth level off or moderate a bit, which may not be a bad thing as we work through labor and material bottlenecks.