This is the change year for politics, construction, and technology. One wise philosopher once said that, “Every time of change brings tremendous risk, but also brings tremendous opportunity.”
Emily Peiffer over at Construction Dive published a paper on 10 Construction Industry Trends to Watch in 2017. Watch if you want to, but I would go further and say that if you want to emerge in a better position in 2018, you had better incorporate some of these changes into your business today. Several of the trends that Peiffer points out have been underway for a few years and are just now surfacing. Let’s take a look at her list and see what you think.
- Collaborative Project Delivery Methods will Become More Popular,
- The Labor Shortage will Continue to Plague the Industry,
- The Feeling of Uncertainty will Linger Under the New Administration,
- Offsite/Modular Construction will gain a stronger foothold in the market,
- Construction Firms are Cautiously Optimistic for a future infrastructure Spending Boost,
- IoT holds the Potential to Revolutionize the Job Site,
- Construction Costs will Rise Due to Materials and Labor,
- VR/AR Tech Will Pick Up Steam,
- The Sustainable Construction Movement will Consider Changing its Message, and
- Construction Firms will Face Increased Scrutiny and Prosecution of Safety and Fraud Incidents.
You should read her article, but I would encourage you to note a couple of things.
- In my opinion, the construction industry is on the verge of either a cliff or a major breakthrough. The trends that Peiffer notes may be trends, but they are quickly becoming imperatives.
- The nature of the construction industry as “slow adopters” has to change if we are to avoid falling off the cliff. While there are certainly construction companies who are leaders in the field, are early adapters and flexible enough to meet the emerging changes headed our way; the majority of the industry will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into a new paradigm.
- The solution to the labor shortages have few short term solutions and as the demand for more construction increases, the skilled labor shortages will drive the construction industry to adapt to the changes in order to survive.
- The unwillingness of the politicians to address the elephant in the room – immigration – will heighten the anxiety in the industry, pressure the residential construction sector, and create an even greater labor shortage in a sector of the industry that relies so heavily on undocumented labor.
- The President’s policy of “Buy American, Hire American” will force the construction industry to adopt new technologies as a way to solve the worker shortage, especially if the infrastructure programs are adopted.
- Productivity on the jobsite must improve and now is the time to adopt new technologies that will enable that to happen.
This is a period of transition and change for the industry and we will have to adapt, find flexibility, create new solutions, design new building methods, and do it at warp speed in order to keep up with the change that is overtaking us.
How is it impacting your business?