7 Things to Know About IIJA
Throughout Quarter 1 of 2022, SkillSmart took a deep dive into the “7 Things Contractors Should Know about the Infrastructure Act“, article published by Construction Dive.
Our team took the opportunity to highlight nearly all of the areas that the construction industry either should be focused on or are already getting a head-start on elevating these areas within their organizations and how SkillSmart’s technology platform, InSight, can help your firm with all of it.
From management of construction data to using all of this information to generate required reports and customize, where needed, SkillSmart has you covered.
The following sections provide a breakdown of these highlighted areas from the Construction Dive article in January.
Emphasis on Private-Public Partnerships
An increased emphasis on P3 projects also increases the focus on community engagement. Often these are large, visible, community projects seeking innovative ways to proceed with owner goals of engaging and employing members of the community. The ability to track where workers on each of these projects are coming from has been a tedious and often thankless task, especially when contractors trying to track subcontractor participation too.
By tracking the appropriate postal codes and payroll, identifying economically and socially disadvantaged workers is as simple as the click of a button within SkillSmart’s InSight platform.
Most important, when gathering and managing this data correctly, you will likely find that you had been undercounting your community participation. Utilizing technology to help you gather, manage, and report on economically and socially disadvantaged workers will help you to meet and exceed community expectations, give proper updates to owners, along with local and regional government who may be involved, and simplify your teams’ efforts.
Here you can see inside our InSight technology platform, where data is gathered for economically and socially disadvantaged workers on each construction project.
Boosts Union and Minority Jobs
IIJA will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and a majority of the funds will be covered under the Davis-Bacon Act, along with targets for DBE business participation, ensuring funds are awarded to MWDBE firms.
Yes, this is great news for all businesses within the construction industry, but it also equates to more data on construction projects that needs to be accurately tracked and reported on.
Before your firm starts bidding on these large infrastructure projects, let’s talk reporting and how SkillSmart’s InSight technology can help:
- Streamline Data Collection and Data Entry from Subcontractors
- Keep Track of Wage Rate Changes (even those happening mid-pay)
- Ensure your team members, subcontractors, and trade partners are compensated appropriately Our InSight platform also has the ability to track 1099’s correctly.
- Accurately report on the number of trades and union labor on projects in real time.
Roads & Bridges Are the Biggest Beneficiaries of IIJA
The largest area for improvement in the construction industry? Data management.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains a total of $550 billion in transportation spending, which goes toward many types of projects including ports and waterways, road safety projects, airports, public transportation, and electric vehicle charging stations. The largest amount, $110 billion, is designated for roads, bridges, and other major transportation programs.
With government dollars on the line, companies at the center of IIJA projects will be held to a higher standard of accountability. Investment in technology is no longer a “value add.” It is essential for companies to be able to collect, manage, and report accurately on the progress of their projects.
SkillSmart’s InSight technology is currently being used on two of the largest infrastructure projects within the DMV metropolitan area: The Maryland Purple Line and Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion.
Here are a few highlights on each project and how InSight helps the construction teams for these multi-billion-dollar projects capture, store, and report project, workforce, wage and business compliance data.
Maryland Purple Line
- 16-mile light rail project connecting the DC Metro system – $3.4B Contract Value
- 319 Subcontractors and over 730 InSight technology users
- InSight produces Nationally Targeted Worker and EEO reports monthly
- InSight reports are grounded in payroll data, submitted by all subcontractors throughout all tiers of the project team
Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion
- Multiple Bridge Expansion and Multiple New Tunnel Construction – $3.8B Contract Value
- 120 Subcontractors and over 280 users (data for year 1 of a 5 year project)
- InSight produces VDOT Prompt Payment, C64, C111, C57 reports monthly
- InSight reports are grounded in certified payroll data, as well as payment tracking
Is your organization preparing to take on work from the infrastructure bill?
Are any of the reports referenced above ones that you are currently required to produce, but would like to be more efficient with your data?
The quality of construction data matters. Let SkillSmart help you collect (and report with) correct data.
Does your construction firm’s data management and reporting come from thousands of rows of data in excel files that your team needs to sort through to generate an NTW goals report?
It doesn’t have to.
The construction industry has notoriously been known for collecting incomplete data. Many contractors are now making changes to deliver more predictable results and technology will be the key to making that happen. The Infrastructure Bill contains a total of $100M for investments in digital advancement and construction technology.
Does your organization currently have a plan in place to implement technology for collecting, storing, managing, and reporting on your project data? These are the actions that firms working within the built environment need to take action on now, before the money starts flowing for these upcoming infrastructure projects across the U.S.
Firms that transition to a data-driven approach, using proven construction technology, like SkillSmart, will be benefit from organizational efficiency and predictable project delivery.
💡 The Nationally Targeted Workers (NTW) Report is a summary of workers who come from economically disadvantaged communities, as defined by the zip code list, or socially disadvantaged individuals who are defined by characteristics, all of which are data sets inside our InSight technology, which can help sort through this data.
The Federal Government uses NTW reporting to prove that the dollars being invested into a project are having a positive impact on the populations that need it the most.
Time for Funding to Get to Projects and Minimizing the Permitting Delay
As the construction industry prepares for the rollout of funds that are coming from Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) there are several things for firms to consider, whether they have worked in this sector before or not. The approach should not just be “sit and wait” for projects to go out to bid. Companies that understand the changes coming and take a careful look at their organization from tools, to technology, to talent, will find themselves in a better position when the projects are starting to be awarded.
Here’s a list of items that your firm should be reviewing and considering what changes or updates need to happen, so you are in the best position possible to take on projects coming from IIJA.
Investment in Technology
Reassessing your operations to address the government’s manageable, but stringent compliance and cost reporting requirements for contractors, and potentially implementing specific technology as needed, to help streamline data management and reporting to increase your opportunity for successful outcomes.
Investment in Security
Assessing and updating your company’s cybersecurity and risk management protocols so they align with the government’s robust security policies
Invest in your Own Infrastructure
It is time for the construction industry to make a concerted effort and to invest in technology that connects the platforms used throughout our industry. The multiple platforms used on each project, by their very nature, create data silos that ultimately result in the breakdown of trust in the information collected. The ability to have synergy across your corporate platforms and simplifying these steps for your team will make a significant difference on your project success.
Investment in Your Workforce and Industry Partners
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey last summer found that 88% of contractors were having moderate or high difficulty finding skilled workers — and 35% had turned down work as a result.
Now is the time for companies in the construction industry to take a hard look at their teams and the projected workload to assess where needs are and where they may be over the next 18 months. Understanding that recruitment and retention in the construction industry is at all time high. Contractors will need to step up when it comes to the employment and benefits, they are offering to candidates and find ways to train up amongst the good talent you already have on your team.
In the same light, review of your subcontractor and vendor base is another task worth doing now. These databases can become old and dated and often are not reviewed regularly. There are many ways to engage new partners and ensure that your subcontractor base is diversified and ready to go to work, once these projects hit the streets.
There is a lot in store for the construction industry over the next few years and the ability for enormous economic impact in communities to be at the center of all of this investment. Contractors and others in the construction industry are going to need to be strategic in their approach, when taking on these enormous projects.
If you are interested in learning more about SkillSmart InSight or booking a demo of our technology to learn how it can work for your organization, please contact Joshua Lowery at firstname.lastname@example.org.