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FCAs: A Path Forward for Contractors in a Tough Economy

March 30, 2023

I’ve spoken with at least a dozen executives from regional and national contractors lately, and everyone is dancing around the topic of how the economy is affecting business instead of coming out and saying it. Let’s cut to the chase – it is affecting us.

Whether due to a recession or just fear of a recession, building owners are making different decisions these days. The cost of capital is forcing many of them to reconsider ground-up projects and make do with their existing facilities instead. As a result, the new construction pipeline is slowing or shrinking in many markets and verticals.

Although nonresidential construction spending is expected to increase moderately in 2023 (mostly due to architect and contractor backlogs), the outlook for 2024 shows significantly slowing spending across the board except for education construction.

Without strong demand for new construction, firms must find other ways to bring in capital.

Fill the Revenue Gap with FCAs

A tough economy is challenging, but it’s also ripe with opportunity – if you know where to look.

Without new construction projects, building owners are focusing on how to maintain and optimize their existing buildings. These older facilities may not be in the best shape to withstand the demands of longer use. Yet owners have to keep these veteran buildings running well so the business can continue operating while weathering economic storms.

Facilities condition assessments (FCAs) can evaluate those buildings and determine what’s needed to keep them safe and operational. But many building operators don’t have the bandwidth to conduct their own FCA, either due to limited time, limited resources, or limited expertise.

Owners will be turning to their building partners for help conducting these assessments. Firms that are prepared for this surging demand for FCAs can bring in valuable revenue in the near term while also positioning themselves to regain new construction projects once the economy improves.

Finding FCA Success

Whether your firm needs to shift its primary focus to FCAs or stand up an entirely new FCA business line, working with an experienced FCA software provider makes the process faster and more streamlined.

Basing your FCA offering on a good software tool not only helps you establish a more consistent, flexible process, but also provides a more desirable finished product.

In this day and age, no one should have to take written notes while onsite, come back to the office to try to match up their notes with the photos they took, and then type everything into a massive Word doc or PDF that the client may or may not page all the way through.

For the past few years, our team has been laser focused on developing truly transformational FCA software. A system that streamlines onsite data capture, speeds up report generation, and provides easy-to-understand client results.

AkitaBox Capture and FCA Insights software work together to optimize your team’s labor and maximize the value of your deliverable. Collect onsite data more easily than ever before with AkitaBox Capture. Then use FCA Insights to translate that data into meaningful recommendations.

AkitaBox Capture App CTA button to software product page

The result – besides a valuable roadmap for building maintenance and capital planning – is a closer relationship and more trusted partnership with your clients. They won’t forget you when it’s time to pick those new projects back up. After the economic downturn passes, your firm will be better positioned to regain and even grow your share of capital project spend.

We’ve written extensively about FCA software (as you can see from the articles below), so I encourage you to check them out for a deeper dive.

You can also take a look at our FCA Resource Center for AEC Firms.

Become the Partner Your Clients Need

Rising to the challenges of a slow economy means you have to be more than you were yesterday. Yes, it’s a time of fear, but also of opportunity and optimism. This is your chance to become the contractor you always knew you could be, the contractor you really want to be.

Keep a forward-thinking mindset. Lean into alternative revenue streams like FCAs. Try new tools and new approaches. This kind of attitude will help you regain momentum even during an economic slowdown.

We’re ready to help you face the uncertainty and economic concerns – let us be your partner. The time to act is now. The longer we wait, the more challenging it will be to diversify your revenue streams and offset the gap in your construction pipeline. Let’s do it together!

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Derek Blackmore

Derek Blackmore is president of AkitaBox. He combines his love of buildings and his software experience to drive AkitaBox to deliver creative facilities management tools. He believes technology is most valuable when it addresses long-standing, industry-wide challenges, while enabling closer alignment to and pursuit of the overall mission of the organization.

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