The following is excerpted from a May 23, 2022 article by Jessica Lombardo, posted online at www.forconstructionpros.com. Click here for the full version.
Five Good Things Happening in Construction Right Now
The cost of doing business is increasing around every turn and construction business owners are grappling with labor shortages, extended timelines, supply chain disruptions and so much more. Here are five reasons to remain positive about the future of our industry.
1. Increasing Industry Interest
Over the past few years, there has been a growing shortage of skilled trades workers. The Associated General Contractors of America found that 89% of contractors were having a difficult time finding workers who were trained for the job. That affects project timelines — 61% of contractors reported project delays because of these workforce shortages.
The proportion of high-schoolers who are considering a four-year education has plummeted from 71% to 48% since the start of coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the ECMC Group, a nonprofit student loan guaranty agency that also operates career schools. What is increasing? Enrollment in trade schools. Construction trade program enrollment is up 5%.
2. Long-Term Funding
The passage of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) represents a historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure priorities. There will be $550 billion in new spending over a five-year period, representing a huge opportunity for construction contractors to take advantage of new work.
Sustainable funding should increase contractor confidence to bid for big projects as they are able to better plan out what the next five years look like.
3. Technology Adoption
Nestled in that $1.2 trillion IIJA, among the hundreds of billions dedicated to road improvements, dam repairs, clean energy credits and more, is a relatively small sum of money — $100 million — dedicated to construction technology.
The money will be disbursed over five years, in $20 million-per-year increments. Construction technology has been advancing at breakneck pace and some contractors have started to adopt new ways of getting their work done. Most construction professionals see digital transformation as their biggest source of opportunity for the coming year and predict software will be essential to their success in estimating, project cost management, scheduling and risk management.
4. Better Equipment & Safer Workers
If there are areas where an upgrade is needed, now is the time to do so. Just like with new car models, upgrades and improvements are made to bulldozers, cranes, excavators, rollers, pavers and other heavy machinery each year, too. Upgrading assets improves your company’s efficiency, leads to a reduction in accidents and injuries, and may even contribute to helping you grow your client base.
5. Infrastructure is Changing the World
Stakeholders, engineers, designers and contractors are realizing that we must recognize the shifting nature of what infrastructure is, what society needs it to do and who controls it. Whether we like it or not, we are going to have to start doing things differently. Start now, get your learning curve out of the way, and be well-positioned to comply when regulations undoubtedly come our way.