North Bay post-wildfire: Local construction firms talk about challenges, opportunities
North Bay Business Journal asked 14 local firms at the top of this year's commercial general contractors list about conditions in an industry that has been hit with a labor shortage, demand for rebuilding thousands of homes destroyed by wildfires in the past 12 months.
62 West North Street, Healdsburg; 707-433-5113; www.eddingers.com
How much is your business set to grow this year?
Between 6 and 7 percent
What are the three biggest challenges facing your business this year?
Permit process, increase in costs, subcontractors work load.
What actions are you taking to overcome them?
Working closer with Sonoma County permit and resource development as well as being a member of the Healdsburg Planning Commission and being able to share our industry concerns with the county of Sonoma (Permit & Resource Management Department) Director’s Advisory Group. We work closely with planning and building in Healdsburg and are able to express our construction needs with city government.
Where geographically is the bulk of your work these days?
Northern Sonoma County
How is the supply of labor for your crews affecting how you operate?
We have been in business for 50 years and have some very long-term employees, as well as some newer employees we’ve been able to recruit over the past five years. We have a workforce of committed employees who are dedicated to our company and clients. We work together as a team which has contributed to our success and our ability to keep our very valued employees over the years.
What are your three biggest jobs right now?
Vintners Inn — two new hotel buildings and spa; Golden State Cider relocating to Healdsburg; Capital Lumber storage building.
What is interesting about them?
Hotels are very challenging as they are very high end and time sensitive with multiple subcontractors to organize. The spa is unique with specifications that only fit a spa with indoor and outdoor pools.
Golden State Cider is moving to a larger facility as they are expanding their production, and although its an existing building, there are many changes that need to be made for such a special operation.
Capital Lumber is a very large lumber supplier in the western U.S. and needs more enclosed storage space as well as larger offices. One of the challenging things for Capital Lumber is that even though it is in the Healdsburg city limits, it is on its own water and sewer systems which makes fire requirements difficult.
What do these jobs say about the North Bay construction market?
North Bay commercial market continues to grow because the North Bay is a special place. Hopefully we can find a way to satisfy our housing needs so that we’re able to keep up with the growth demands of the commercial market in our area. We have an abundance of great restaurants, hotels and world class wineries, but are in need of housing for all the workers.
What’s the outlook for local construction activity in your specialty areas in 2019?
We have contracts for a large commercial building in downtown Healdsburg, as well as a new industrial building in Sauers Industrial Park in Healdsburg and three new custom homes. So, we think the construction industry will continue to grow at a pace we have never seen before.