Don’t say the “D” word

Don’t say the “D” word

If you tuned into the news lately on topics regarding our industry, you couldn’t miss the constant theme of a high demand for new construction; how there is more work than our men are able to execute. When you go to a meeting, you don’t need to ask your fellow builders and associates how’s business. You know they’re busy. We all are.

So how could it be possible that an economic downturn, similar to what we saw in 2008, happen in the near future?

Unfortunately, the issue is complicated and is the product of many factors coming to head that we can no longer ignore.

Housing affordability has been cited as the dominant factor in builder confidence this season by the National Association of Home Builders. Excessive regulations, a scarcity of buildable lots, persistent labor shortages and tariffs on lumber and other key building materials are all factors in the ability for our builders to create housing at affordable and competitive price points.

More so, it is even greater a challenge as builders try to communicate to homeowners why the house that could be built for $250,000 five years ago is going to cost them $400,000.

As these challenges loom over our industry the question is how do we “future-proof” our builders association to prepare for an economic downturn?

My solution is twofold— we increase and engage our membership to provide a stronger foundation to the association and work together to address issues that affect our business, specifically the skilled labor shortage.

Our association will never win the race for relevance if we do not have a strong and vibrant membership base. It’s important to recognize that membership is the life-blood of our organization. It is what allows our voice to be heard in our communities, to influence policy and to educate stakeholders on the significance of our issues. Now more than ever, it is time to invest in your membership and advocate to your colleagues why they should do the same. To enhance this mission, the state association will host another statewide membership drive in October that will incentivize your local leadership to help us keep building our federation, brick by brick, member by member. I encourage you to take part in that.

With our vitality enhanced and our status increased, we will continue to work together to tackle the challenges that plague our businesses. At the state level, the Indiana Builders Association has exhausted efforts to attract and maintain a skilled workforce for the building and construction trades through the Build Your Future Indiana program. We have pushed our local associations to utilize ambassador kits and other materials that educate and encourage the younger generations to consider an alternative and successful career path into the construction trades. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reports an average of 3,000 construction trade openings annually with a projected 30,000 openings to fill by 2024. We have our work cut out for us and it’s time to get involved.

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