Like many other industries, builders and developers have been dealing with a multitude of COVID-related issues, from supply chain disruptions to market uncertainty. Building and development leaders have been challenged with remaining flexible on projects and adapting where possible. Recently, leaders in these industries met in a virtual roundtable, sponsored by City National Bank, to discuss Nevada’s building landscape moving forward.
Connie Brennan, publisher and CEO of Nevada Business Magazine, served as moderator for the event. These monthly roundtables bring together industry leaders to discuss relevant issues and solutions.
Larry Monkarsh: We strictly do industrial, so we’ve been lucky through the pandemic era of this last year. Even though our projects were stalled, they’re now moving forward. We were able to take advantage of the PPP (paycheck protection program) and keep our people working, keep them paid. So, as we get ramped back up again, I don’t have to go out looking for staff. We didn’t furlough anybody; we didn’t lay anyone off. We kept our superintendents. We kept our project managers. We’re actually still looking for another set of that staff to work some of our projects.
Larry Monkarsh: We’re looking at a 30 to 35 percent [increase], in some categories, where we’re seeing things jump. The challenge is finding a workaround. We have a new tilt wall system. We’ve found ways to replace rebar and install something that’s just as strong to get around the rebar increase. For the materials issue, with lumber, there are natural disasters. You’ve got California and Oregon wildfires and Canada shutting down mills so you can’t get lumber. You’ve got hurricanes and floods in the Gulf that are shutting down factories processing pipes. You’ve got the fluctuation in oil up and down. These natural disasters have contributed to the material price increase.
Larry Monkarsh: We’ve got two projects we’re trying to get out of the 100-year flood plan so we’re having to deal with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The FEMA process is 18 months. You can point your finger on some of these deals back to the municipality but now if you’re going to get into the BLM, you’re dealing with the federal government. We all know how dysfunctional they are in getting something through. That’s some of the reasons we’re experiencing delays in permitting. We’re now dealing with problems that were kicked down the road. Now it’s time to pick those up and deal with them.
Larry Monkarsh: We are seeing, through the pandemic, kids coming in looking for work. My son is 16 and he’s going to get a heavy equipment operating license this summer. He’s already got a job lined up in Oregon for a civil contractor. There are people and kids that are starting to look towards [this industry] and say, “Hey, if I can make $25 to $30 an hour and work my way through college running a loader, then that’s what I’ll do.” We’re seeing a little bit of that, but it’s still tough to find office [employees].
Larry Monkarsh: We’re currently developing mostly in southern Nevada – West Henderson and the southwest. The biggest buildings we’ve built are 160 to 230 thousand square feet, but our niche is that 40 to 100 thousand square foot range and we’re seeing demand through the roof. In our realm we’re seeing great activity. There’s money available to go build with and people have money to invest outside of capital sources. We’re optimistic. We’re bullish. We really think that what we’re doing is great.
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