How's Business?

Laura M. Porinchak / May 2018

I think I’ve told you in the past that one of the many reasons I enjoy AWCI’s Convention is because it’s as if we are throwing a big party, and all our good friends are coming. Proofreading the attendee directory is fun for me; I look at it as the RSVP list.
But this year‘s convention was so much more meaningful because it marked AWCI’s 100th anniversary. Centennial celebrations were strewn throughout the convention, but the planning that went into it had been going on for quite some time. Right up until the event—and even during it—I kept asking myself if we had done enough, if our members and attendees were happy with our efforts. Beyond that, would everything go as planned, would all the functions live up to the hype, would our attendees be happy in the end?
By all accounts, they are happy. What a relief! I was really looking forward to it, but now that it’s over, I’m pretty glad about that too. After a year of special centennial projects, I can now get back to work as usual.
Do you feel like your business has gotten back to usual? Since the recession officially ended in June 2009 (yes, it’s been nearly 10 years, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research), have you reached the peaks you hit prior to the beginning of the recession in December 2007? Today, most contractors are telling us that business is good. While some still struggle, many companies are optimistic about the future. Knowing this, we developed a series of articles that examines the trends and economic outlooks in various North American regions. Interviews with AWCI member contractors provide the foundation for these articles, and this month we start with contractors in our northern states. The article begins on page 50.
Another thing contractors are talking about is the labor shortage. News about steel tariffs is starting to take over the headlines, but the lack of qualified, skill labor in the construction industry is still the number-one subject of discussion. It’s definitely a hot topic, and has been for quite some time. And it’s messing with schedules. Whether or not scheduling a project is an art or a science is debated in the article that begins on page 42. We asked contractors about items and details that often get overlooked in schedules, how they handle surprises, how they track progress, and how scheduling affects the bottom line. Their answers might surprise you.
Finally, we bring you stunning photos of the AWCI Excellence in Construction Quality Award winners, and we honor the winners of AWCI’s safety and innovation awards in the article that starts on page 31. All were announced during AWCI’s Convention at the end of March. More about the winners can be found in the Awards section of AWCI’s website,