Marty Helly, CSI, CDT
Normally an August president’s message is an easy write. Wish everyone a happy remainder to the summer and tell them we look forward to seeing you in September when we get back to normal activities. To a large extent that is what I need to say this month. I do hope you and your family find some fun, rest and relaxation in the next few weeks and that you make plans to participate in the Architectural Scavenger Hunt when it comes around next month.
But this year I can’t just leave it at that. I have to acknowledge that nothing has seemed normal for the past two years and I’m not sure we’re getting back there soon. Two weeks to flatten the curve morphed into a summer of avoiding personal contact and limiting activities to only essential business. This fed then into a second year and while we were getting less restricted as more and more people were vaccinated, there are now new mask mandates to try to stem the delta variant and looming booster shots for an already vaccinated public. The business disruption and the overnment spending response has resulted in inflated prices as well as significant material and labor shortages make it difficult to complete projects or even estimate construction costs. Eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, remote work trends, business relocation and population migration all play havoc with the real estate market and owners trying to determine whether to proceed with projects. Our industry particularly as well as the country as a whole face enormous challenges over the coming year.
There is one thing I do know that gives me hope. For every problem we face, it helps to have someone you trust to call on to help you clarify the issues and figure out the solutions. The network of industry professionals I’ve had access to through years of participation in CSI have helped me get the answers I’ve needed in the past year – is a material available, what kind of lead time are we expecting, can it be located from an alternate source in a quantity to meet the project requirements? And when the answer is no or the lead time is 6 months out – what options do we have for a substitute material? So I’ll keep going to chapter and region and national events and keep meeting folks who can help me get things done. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll do the same. You might be the person I need to be able to contact.