Whelan Says Collaboration Key to Solving Construction Pain Points

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineFebruary 3, 2020
by Mindy Caldwell. Margaret Whelan and Kirk Grundahl contributed to this article.


It’s not news that the lack of skilled labor in the construction industry today is causing a variety of problems ripe for new solutions. At the 2019 Industrialized Wood-based Construction Conference in November, Margaret Whelan (CEO of Whelan Advisory) spoke directly about the opportunity that exists to solve cycle time pain points in her address about the need for more construction industry investment in new innovation. (See her full presentation here.)

Framing the American Dream is an initiative of the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA). Visit sbcindustry.com for more details.

“What's frustrating is that when you talk to the builders and say, ‘Well, how did we go on average from 50 days to over a hundred days construction time?’ What they'll tell you is, of those 100 days, about a half of them, the house is vacant. There's nobody working in the house. So the consumer is waiting and the homebuilder’s cash is tied up,” she explained at the November 2019 event.

On top of that reality, Whelan also pointed out the need to address the issue of jobsite waste. As SBCA’s Framing the American Dream study found in both 1995 and in 2015, a stick-built house uses 25% more wood products that need to be cut to fit on the jobsite. This custom fit process, generates 30 times more jobsite waste than a house built with roof trusses, wall panels and floor trusses.

“Who’s paying for that?” Whelan asked. “Is the customer paying for it? Millennials are very savvy and they're very focused on their carbon footprint. So this is not going to make them happy and they're going to challenge you.”

These pain points are clear, and as a recent Framing News article stated, “supply chain collaboration that works to solve pain points will be successful.”

“There is absolutely opportunity to collaborate,” Margaret also concludes. “If you can partner with a customer or a supplier in your industry, who's engaged in a pain point who's also got some expertise, and leverage that, I think that's going to be very valuable.”

For example, PulteGroup recently announced the acquisition of Jacksonville based Innovative Construction Group, a transaction on which Whelan acted as the exclusive advisor. It positions the two companies to collaborate on bringing an expanded and enhanced level of service and product offering to ICG’s single and multifamily customers.

“Over the last decade, we have continuously developed and refined our fully integrated off-site model to service single family and multifamily customers,” said Ryan Melin, cofounder and president of ICG. “We are excited to partner with PulteGroup and leverage our shared passion for innovation to offer a broader range of services and capabilities to all of our customers.”

For more insight on this issue, check out the following articles:

To find supply chain partners in your area dedicated to solving construction industry pain points, consider reaching out to those companies involved in national trade associations to further the conversation in your local area: National Framers Council | Structural Building Components Association | Foam Sheathing Committee

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