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Advancing Preconstruction


Hourigan believes in consistent improvement and challenging ourselves to deliver the highest value for our clients. One element of this approach is to routinely engage with other peers and industry partners.  For eight years now, Advancing Preconstruction has held a preconstruction conference to unite over 1,000 preconstruction leaders to acknowledge best practices, enhance workflows, and discover the latest tools to increase efficiency for the preconstruction world. With preconstruction challenges on the rise, collaborating with project partners to create new internal processes, and rediscover risk and estimation approaches will only help gain a competitive advantage.

Todd Bagwell, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction Services with Hourigan

Todd Bagwell, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction, not only attended this year’s conference but took a spot on the Preconstruction Departmental Management panel discussion where they discussed how to recruit qualified individuals to make up the best preconstruction team.

Todd reflects on his time at the conference and details his key takeaways from economic trends, AI technology, and finding top performers for the team.

Global Economic Trends

Ed Zarensky, one of the keynote speakers predicted that the significant cost escalation that the AEC industry experienced in 2021 and 2022 is cooling, however, costs will remain at the new baseline level, with anticipated inflation in 2023 of 5-8%.  This aligns closely with what Virginia’s markets are seeing and expecting. Lead times are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future in key building components due to multiple global economic impacts.  Electrical switchgear and generators lead the way, with lead times upwards of 70 weeks or more in some cases.  This will drive project schedules and emphasizes the importance of engaging Hourigan for preconstruction as early as possible. Bringing strategic procurement options and leveraging trade partner relationships will assist clients in navigating these challenges.

Ed Zarensky, a keynote speaker at the Advancing Preconstruction Summit. Photo Credit: Ed Zarensky and Advancing Preconstruction

AI Technology

The industry is trying to understand Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it can be applied to construction. Although it is still in its early stages it is expected to grow. We’re investigating and keeping tabs on the best uses. AI is transforming the way projects are executed, designed, and managed. Potentially, AI will increase productivity and job site safety significantly. Analyzing large amounts of data quickly and accurately is one of the largest benefits of AI in the industry. This only scratches the surface of the capabilities AI will bring to construction.

Finding Top Performers

Chris VandenBroek, Preconstruction Executive, Elizabeth Eshbach, Assistant Preconstruction Manager, and Todd Bagwell, Senior Vice President of Preconstruction Services

The demands from our clients for exceptional preconstruction services continue to grow. Good Preconstruction professionals possess a unique skill set and sometimes it’s a challenge to find the talent. The panel discussion Todd sat on was titled “Recruiting Qualified Individuals to Create the Best Preconstruction Team. During the discussion, Todd pointed out some top approaches to finding the right team member:

The Take Away

Focusing on thought leadership and staying ahead of the curve on industry trends and advancements is what we strive for.  The industry collaboration at the Advancing Preconstruction conference was a powerful uniting of minds to collectively sharpen our skills. The end result is the continued ability to bring that expertise and knowledge to our projects, ultimately delivering the best results to our clients.

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