The COVID Complex: How our Team Has Created Solutions Amid Economic Dilemmas

September 9, 2021

By: Brandon Cedillo

 

The impact of COVID has left industries across the world in a state of concern for the supply and demand of common services and materials. Some industries have nearly come to a complete halt in production while others have seen growth and expansion through the pandemic. In order to keep our daily lives and the economy as functional as possible, certain industries have pushed through the supply chain disruptions, causing an increase in cost of materials. In an effort to keep the industrial sector moving forward our clients have relied on the expertise, creativity and innovation of engineers to provide solutions that aim to meet project deadlines while maintaining a certain level of economical efficiency.

 

Building materials across the board have suffered from longer lead times and spikes in cost that continue to fluctuate. Working around the product and material limitations during COVID has created an era of structures that will leave a unique imprint on our generation. A common example we are seeing is the utilization of beams for roof and floor support systems where we normally would see steel joists being used. Prior to COVID, in cases where it would have been typical to construct a pre-engineered metal building, conventional “stick-built” structures are being designed in an attempt to cut lead times. This has been a common theme during the pandemic and as engineers, we rely on consistent communication with suppliers and contractors to ensure our product for the end user is economically efficient, maintains civil/structural integrity, safe, all while staying within the project deadline.

 

There are three major factors that industrial clients review for their projects: cost, time and result. The industrial sector is exceptionally process driven compared to the other sectors of the market and for this reason they require simple and practical solutions with minimal impact to their process. Minimizing the interruptions of the process system at each facility is critical and is typically the controlling factor when conceptualizing the design. It is important to find the most economical solution within the needed timeframe of the project. COVID has impacted the cost and time of projects in the industrial sector, and clients have looked to design teams and contractors to devise new solutions to complete projects within the timeframe they need, while maintaining the integrity of the design and mitigating the inflamed cost of materials.

 

COVID has not left any sector or industry unaffected, and it has played a part in hindering the ability to have common materials available in the typical timeframe we are accustomed. We are seeing the use of more costly building methods because they can be produced faster than that of the usually economical methods. This has caused clients to reevaluate their projects to determine if the cost and time delay is worth the results and improvement to the current processes that are in place for their system. It has been our role to assist our clients with these decisions and provide them with solutions that can help mitigate these issues that have risen through the pandemic.