It’s common knowledge that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy took a serious hit. Mass deaths were a major factor in the current labor shortage; nearly 1 million people in the United States lost their lives to COVID, and over 14,000 of those were located in Maryland, where construction company Noland Mechanical is located.
The construction industry is particularly impacted by the state of the economy. In a healthy, thriving economy, there isn’t too much competition between companies due to an abundance of jobs– but in a struggling economy, companies are fighting for a decreased number of available jobs, and some may be forced to lower their rates just to stay afloat.
Keith D. Clarke, senior estimator and project manager at Noland Mechanical, is no stranger to the economic impact on his industry. Noland Mechanical itself is not immune to changes in the United States economy, but as the U.S. slowly recovers from the economic crash that was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Noland has held steady and weathered the storm.
Part of Noland’s success is due to their focus on mechanical contracting. For construction companies in struggling economies, it’s recommended to diversify their business. In other words, companies that focus strictly on residential projects should expand their scope to include commercial and infrastructure projects. According to Keith D. Clarke, “Noland Mechanical didn’t struggle because our scope was diverse from the start.”
In fact, even during a time when many companies were closing down or just barely staying afloat, Noland remained extremely busy due to their focus on commercial projects– like hotel and resort construction– and government-subsidized housing. Their focus on HVAC systems and Design-Build services is also a decisive factor in their continued success.
The importance of well-designed HVAC systems has never been more evident than it is today, during an ongoing respiratory virus pandemic. Proper ventilation is an important factor in safety in many industries, but when airborne virus particles carry the threat of illness and death, it’s absolutely paramount that interior spaces boast excellent ventilation.
Keith D. Clarke works personally with building owners, architects, and engineers to design efficient and effective HVAC systems– a job that is much better-defended against economic turmoil than many others as a result of the pandemic. It’ll most likely stay that way, too, as the importance of excellent ventilation becomes clear to the general public.
Though they’ve stayed in the black due to their focus on commercial projects, Noland is also a well-established name in residential projects. As a whole, the housing market has been tumultuous since an initial crash in 2008, but the economic situation of the past few years has particularly affected its wellbeing.
During times of economic difficulty, the housing market struggles because it becomes more difficult to obtain loans, which means that people are unable to purchase houses. A slow economy also affects supply– and the recent supply chain issues affecting virtually every industry in the world have not spared the construction industry. Due to supply issues with construction materials like wood, glass, and tools, building houses became astronomically expensive– further discouraging people from making any moves to build, buy or sell their homes.
2021 saw a massive recovery in the United States economy, but things are still up in the air for 2022. Rising gas prices are just one symptom of the issues resulting from tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the world; materials like aluminum in copper are also likely to increase in price due to conflict with Russia, a major supplier.
Keith Clarke, as senior estimator, is familiar with the tribulations that economic upheaval can bring to the industry– but people will always need to build and remodel. With a diversified scope of work, expert estimators like Clarke on the job, and an established client base, Noland Mechanical is prepared to weather the storm.