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Opinion: Design, construction a team sport

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Why do we “salute” design and construction?

We salute design and construction to recognize the hard work the industry does to build our community. We salute one of the industries working behind the scenes to convert workspaces this year to allow for hybrid functions.

We salute the industry keeping our roads and bridges updated. We salute the industry that provides a ripple effect to create jobs and inject money into our local economy.

Economic development depends on construction to construct new buildings, renovate existing structures and build on additional space for commercial and residential use.

While some industries were forced to slow down this year, construction maintained a busy-to-steady pace with commercial and residential projects. Some design staff and supportive staff could work remotely from home, but a large portion of the industry continued to report to job sites day after day. Adjustments were quickly made to ensure the safety of workers, but a level of trust was imposed between crews to work together and keep the job site progressing. Tradesmen understand the impact one person has on a job site.

If any industry were a representation of a team sport, it would be construction. Each project requires designers, engineers, construction managers, contractors, suppliers, banks, insurance and many other businesses.

From the inception of an idea until the occupancy of the building, all the moving pieces must work together for the project to stay on track. Contractors recognize the need for quality plans created by architects and engineers. Design teams rely on contractors to bring their visions to life.

Design teams include architects, structural and civil engineers, mechanical, plumbing and electrical engineers, geotechnical engineers, interior designers and landscapers.

The construction team typically includes a general contractor or construction manager, as well as subcontractors representing every trade including but not limited to electrical, HVAC, drywall, painting, flooring, plumbing, welding, framing and roofing.

Subcontractors then hire suppliers for materials and equipment.

Contractors also need insurance companies to bond and insure projects.

Banks, attorneys, insurance and other general service businesses are needed by each company.

Developers are another piece of the construction puzzle. Without private individuals investing their time and money, government entities allocating budgets, and citizens voting in favor of bonds and taxes, the industry would cease to exist. The ripple effect of a construction project extends beyond the developer and the contractor building it.

One new manufacturing facility will employ numerous new employees who will invest back in the community by purchasing homes, renting apartments, buying groceries and supporting other local businesses.

The products manufactured will be sold locally, nationally and internationally, resulting in jobs for the transportation and supply chain industries.

One bridge can be a statistic in a report for underfunded Missouri transportation, or it can be the direct path for a neighborhood to get to work and the grocery store. The construction industry provides inspections to ensure vehicles can pass safely and repair any issues to prevent closures, if possible.

One new retail space could potentially provide space for restaurants, shopping, breweries and more.

Each business hires from the local workforce and injects sales tax revenue back into the community. The sales tax is then used to fund the police, fire department, infrastructure and other basic needs of the city.

Retail space can be used to build a sense of community, provide a gathering space and fulfill an entrepreneur’s dream.

In a year of uncertainties, the construction industry has continued to work as people planned home improvement projects, restaurants and retail spaces renovated to comply with new regulations, and commercial offices upgraded for hybrid work schedules.

This year especially, we salute the design and construction industry for the tireless work to continue to build the Ozarks.

Megan Short is executive director of the Springfield Contractors Association. She can be reached at


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