If you’re thinking today’s shutdown of parts of the Federal government, due to the budget impasse in Congress, will have no impact on your company’s business, you may want to think again. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which issues building licenses and permits, housing code inspections and construction permits in D.C., is among those now shut down. Who will be impacted by this? According to some reports, those affected will include small businesses, in particular those who specialize in general construction.
The impasse has forced about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspended most non-essential federal programs and services. A number of contractors expecting to get paid for government projects will have to make do without compensation while the government remains closed. The shutdown, the first in 17 years, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitor’s center.
The effects of the shutdown have already been felt as the Census Bureau was unable to release data on construction spending in August, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the impacts of the shutdown will go beyond data as solicitations for many new construction projects come to a halt.
“It is hard to get a sense of where the industry is heading when basic construction spending data isn’t available,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, the lack of federal spending data likely foreshadows a decline in federal construction spending until the government reopens.”
Association officials likewise urged members of Congress to quickly resolve the political impasse that resulted in a federal shutdown starting today, warning that solicitations for new federal construction projects will be delayed until the federal government reopens. In addition, other federal construction projects may be delayed as many federal supervisors will not be available to answer questions, approve change orders.
But the American Institute of Architects (AIA) warns against the extreme partisan rancor that has led to this point, saying in a released statement that the partial government shutdown was bad for all Americans – Democrat or Republican.
“The AIA is a non-partisan professional association; we work with members of both political parties,” says AIA president Mickey Jacob. “And like most Americans, AIA members are extremely disillusioned with the current state of affairs in the nation’s capital.
“The design and construction industry is slowly recovering from one of the worst economic crises in modern history. The last thing we need is the self-inflicted wound that can potentially further damage the economy.”
And in related industry event news, the Alliance to Save Energy announced that due to the government shutdown, they are postponing the Great Energy Efficiency Day, which was planned for tomorrow. The event was scheduled to be held in a government building to which the organization will not have access. The Alliance will issue an announcement once a new date is set.
Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for more reports as they are made available.