5 Trends Defining the Construction Industry


Change is becoming a more welcome concept for builders, as many are embracing innovations and changing consumer tastes. To help busy professionals stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the commercial and residential sectors, we’ve compiled a list of 10 major trends driving construction.

  1. The shortage of qualified labor continues to plague the industry.

During the recession and subsequent years of struggle for the building industry, qualified labor across all sectors fled in search of work elsewhere. Now that the industry is recovering, those workers just aren’t coming back. The area hit the hardest has been skilled craft labor. Builders — in residential, commercial and industrial sectors — can’t find the qualified workers they need for new projects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently found that contractors had 143,000 unfilled jobs on their books in June.

2. The use of BIM and technology/apps on job sites is increasing.

In April, a Texas A&M study that found the construction industry lags behind many others when it comes to using mobile apps, cloud-based systems and other technology. However, some contractors have begun to realize the potential benefits of new tech options. Building Information Modeling has quickly become the most significant and widely adopted new technology method employed in the industry. The process of creating digital models to provide information for planning construction has proven beneficial for both safety reasons — as managers can use BIM to help assess risks on job sites and to plan ways to do more of the work off-site — and for economic reasons — as it can help contractors save thousands of dollars of unnecessary spending on scaffolding and staging.

3. There has been heightened attention on job site safety and stricter punishments for managers and executives who put workers in danger.

Construction laborers have the 10th most dangerous job in America, according to the BLS. Recently, there has been more focus on job site safety and stricter penalties for those who contribute to an unsafe work environment or cut corners when it comes to safety. This summer, a jury ordered New York Crane and Equipment Corp. owner James Lomma and his companies to pay $47.8 million to the families of two New York construction workers who died when a crane collapsed on their job site. And last month, the owner and the project manager of a California construction company were sentenced to two years in prison for what Cal/OSHA called the “preventable death” of a day laborer who was buried alive.

4. The green building market is growing, and builders are often encouraged to adopt green practices.

Green building is far from a new concept, but environmentally friendly construction has been picking up steam and likely won’t let up anytime soon. Carnegie Hall, for example, qualified this month for LEED Silver certification after a massive renovation to make 165,000 square feet of the concert hall’s non-performance space more energy-efficient. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan could also have significant implications for the green building movement in the commercial and industrial space, as his proposed standards include tax credits for electricity generated in 2020 and 2021 from renewable energy plants that begin construction early. The new standards could spur a wave of solar and wind farms across the U.S.

5. Builders are hoping millennials will finally start buying homes instead of staying renters.

Will Millennials finally leave the renting lifestyle and make the plunge into homeownership? Just this month, reports revealed: Millennials are more likely to put off buying their first homes than they are to postpone marriage or purchase cars; first-time homebuyers are renting for an average of six years before they buy, more than twice as long as in the 1970s; and sales of existing homes to first-time buyers fell in July to their lowest share since January, even as overall sales increased for the third consecutive month. These reports paint a bleak picture of the current millennial-homebuying climate. To snag the young buyers, builders need to offer more entry-level home options at affordable prices.

Excerpts from this article were taken from www.constructiondive.com.

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