2021 was another whirlwind of a year. While we all were hoping the pandemic would be behind us by now, it continues to find ways to rear its ugly head.

With another strange year nearly in the bag, we’re taking stock of lessons learned and what we can do to prepare for 2022. If you’re looking to do a commercial build next year, here are a few actions to consider:

Don’t Wait to Sign: With rising costs you’ll find you’ll need to make a quick decision to secure your pricing. Material costs are going up quickly, and the numbers you’re quoted on contracts aren’t valid for as long as they used to be. Our blog post on controlling costs is a good place to learn more, and be sure to read your contract’s fine print & check with your general contractor so you understand where you stand.

Order in Advance: The average consumer who had never heard the term “supply chain” before is certainly hearing it now, often in places like the grocery store or through an online order. “Out of Stock” notices are commonplace, and consumers are finding they need to visit multiple stores or wait several weeks to get an item. Materials needed for construction are seeing these delays as well, and sometimes products are simply unavailable. Our blog post on Covid-related material delays includes some helpful tips, but ordering in advance is one of the best ways to increase your chances of materials arriving in time.

Use In Stock/Mainstream Products: Supply chain delays combined with staffing issues across the board are making custom items even more challenging to obtain. These compounding issues are making it so our clients have to make quick & tough decisions about materials. As an example, we had a client who was really excited about their custom light fixtures, but a significant delay was going to push back the opening date. The client decided to purchase mainstream light fixtures instead to keep the ball rolling. Be ready to pivot as needed.

Kindness Counts: It’s a lesson our kids learn in preschool, but it’s something as adults we tend to forget: you’ll attract more flies with honey than you will with vinegar. The construction industry is busy right now! Trade experts from plumbers to carpenters to electricians are feeling the heat and doing the best they can. Send your construction team pizza. Bring cold drinks to the job site on a hot day. Know that small acts of kindness mean a lot; everyone is working hard to meet demand.

Patience is a Virtue: Everything right now is taking longer than any of us would anticipate. Materials are delayed, staff is short, and along the lines of the “Kindness Counts” note above, we’re all finding that patience is an advantage especially with things that are out of everyone’s control. If you’re like most of our clients, your timeline is tight and with or without patience, you have an opening date to hit. In those cases, talk to your general contractor about workarounds. There are plenty!

Teamwork continues to prevail in our industry, and we’re working hard alongside our subcontractors, partners and clients to get businesses up and running as quickly as possible. Strategizing with your general contractor now if you’re even considering a commercial build for next year will pay off when you’re ready to get going.