4 Challenges to Construction After Disaster and How To Prep for Them

It seems like the frequency and intensity of natural disasters has increased significantly in recent years. From devastating wildfires in California to hurricanes and tropical storms pounding the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, organizations are facing an unprecedented need to create a resiliency plan to protect their facilities and infrastructure in the event of a disaster.

Part of a resiliency plan is to provide your team the tools to respond to emergencies and get your services and infrastructure back online quickly. A weather emergency presents a stressful situation, and unfortunately, there are numerous challenges that make disaster response particularly difficult.

 

Common construction challenges arising from a disaster:

Lack of preferred contractors

In the event of a weather disaster, contractors are in high demand as everyone wants to get their damaged facilities repaired as fast as possible. The most skilled contractors are at the top of everyone’s list to call in case of an emergency, and your preferred partners may not be available. Working with contractors whose work you are not familiar with, increases the likelihood of miscommunications, substandard construction and rework.

Sudden price increases

A spike in demand for construction materials, labor and equipment accompanies disasters. This creates a pricing surge that many organizations may not have budgeted for.

Complex Federal and state compliance rules

The Federal government, via FEMA and other agencies, will provide financial relief for disaster recovery projects via grants and reimbursements. However; eligibility for such funding often means navigating some thorny requirements and rules. Meeting those requirements can be a drain on resources.

Inflated repair timelines

Disaster conditions can make construction logistics incredibly challenging. Flooded roadways, downed power lines and raging storms are no way to get materials and equipment on site. But while an organization waits for conditions on the ground to stabilize, facility conditions may deteriorate, resulting in greater damage.

Alternative Construction Procurement and Execution for Disaster Prep

Fortunately, you can address these challenges now and prepare for bringing facilities and infrastructure back online with the use of alternative construction procurement methods. Public agencies, colleges and universities, and school districts across the nation have used Gordian’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) programs to help speed project delivery and rein in costs after disasters. JOC is an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) construction project delivery and execution tool. A Job Order Contract helps facility owners complete a large number of individual projects with a single, competitively bid and awarded contract. The contract is based on accurate, preset unit pricing that is customized and localized for each program.

Disaster Recovery: Respond Fast When Your Community Needs You Most

How does JOC address the construction challenges that arise from a disaster and help prepare you for the inevitable?

Job Order Contracting was conceived in the Department of Defense as a way to get routine, repeatable construction projects done more quickly. But the strengths and flexibility of JOC are directly applicable to emergency response projects.

JOC ensures contractor availability because it provides a pool of competitively awarded, readily contractors. Further, JOC helps contain and control costs because prices are locked in at the outset of the contract and remain fixed for the duration of the contract. Gordian JOC programs meet all applicable procurement standards for use of Federal funds. Plus, all the project data is managed electronically, creating the detail and transparency typically required for reimbursement. Finally, as it was originally intended, JOC helps with project speed because contracts are competitively awarded upfront for an indefinite amount of work. Awarded contractors are able to respond and begin work faster.

How Two Project Owners Used JOC To Jump Into Action and Repair Critical Facilities Following a Disaster

During Hurricane Harvey, Harris County, Texas leaned on their local job order contractors to execute more than 80 projects in less than 14 days. Those projects included 21 roof repairs to libraries, courthouses and administrative buildings, some of which were repaired during the storm with an almost immediate response time. The contractors knew the storm was coming so they were standing by with their equipment ready to go.

Between two historic snowstorms, Loudon County, Virginia used JOC to bring in heavy equipment for snow removal in buildings that were exceeding the design dead load and contractors to repairs roofs, drains and gutters before the next storm hit. The manpower and equipment were in place to quickly react in a short period of time. Afterwards, Loudon submitted detailed job order descriptions to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a successful reimbursement.

Job Order Contracting is a proven method for getting back online following a natural disaster. Combining project speed and cost control, JOC can help save time and money when it’s most critical.

Gordian

About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Sightlines Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.