We are excited to share that Construction Executive recently featured an article written by JLD’s Principal, John Drentlaw. The article covers black swan events and strategies to help ensure your project survives the next unexpected catastrophe. Below is an exceprt:
Even if you previously weren’t familiar with the term “black swan event,” you’ve likely become intimately familiar with what one looks like over the past two years. Coined by author Nassim Taleb in his book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, the term refers to a rare, unpredictable event—perhaps, say, a pandemic—that has an extreme impact.
“Extreme” certainly seems to be an accurate description of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the construction industry, at nearly every level. The Commercial Construction Index (CCI) fell from 74 to 56 during Q2 2020 and remained statistically unchanged through Q3 of that year. Recovery has been slow, with the CCI remaining eight points below pre-pandemic levels through the end of 2021. Prices for raw materials such as lumber and steel have been extremely volatile, reaching historic highs and dramatic lows. March and April of 2020 alone saw 1.1 million jobs disappear from the industry—roughly half as many jobs as were lost throughout the entire Great Recession (although many of these jobs have since returned).
While the industry has persevered through what should be the worst of these effects, many contractors and project owners are now wondering: How can we predict the next black swan event?