DECEMBER 3, 2019
The construction industry is experiencing an exciting time, filled with trends that are changing the future. Being prepared for what is happening now and what is coming next could make us all a bit more successful in 2020.
The use of drones has been on the rise for the past several years, and it is expected to increase. In construction, drones go beyond a hobby to helpful in performing safety checks, collecting data, showing project progress, monitoring equipment use, providing security and surveying sites (we have even seen it on some of our projects—link to other blog). DroneDeploy reports drone use has grown 239% in recent years, making construction the largest drone-using market. Pricing is expected to decrease over the next few years, which will fuel the popularity.
Safety should be the No. 1 concern of every construction business owner. New gear and equipment continue to be released to make safety reporting easier. Work wearables have become an easy way to report safety issues so problems can be corrected. Typical gear includes wristbands, hardhats, vests and belt clips. Work boots that connect to Wi-Fi to report falls even are available. Sensors also can be added to equipment to discover usage problems, and they are available for the environment to report humidity levels or unsafe wind conditions.
The United States has been in a bit of a green crisis, wondering how to be sustainable when we don’t have a place to put our recycled materials or enough outlets to reuse waste. The current green trend is using better construction management and planning to produce less construction waste. For curved framing, this is made possible with one of our curve calculators and/or diagrams to help create accurate measurements (links). Contractors have mentioned that using Flex-C Trac, for instance, means a precise amount of material is used with minimal waste compared to other curve methods.
The lack of qualified workers in the construction industry is going to make every trend and state-of-the-industry list until we figure out how to attract talent and keep these workers. One current trend to correct this is to start the recruitment early. More high school models are changing with the re-integration of technical classes. School districts also are investing in technical school campuses where juniors and seniors have access to hands-on and classroom training in anything from salon skills to welding, mechanics, flower arranging and construction.
Companies are discovering they need to adapt some practices to attract Millennials. This group wants to see your company’s innovations, and they like to feel involved in the big picture. They also want to see the social side of a company, including participating in company events, lunches, gatherings and intermural sports teams. Training should be a continual process, offering workers regular hands-on programs and classes. You can always contact manufacturers—like us—for training sessions and materials.
A recession is not anticipated for 2020, according to the 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook. But the dollar value of total U.S. construction starts is expected to be down 1% this year and 4% next year. The labor shortage, tariffs, 2020 election and other conditions all will affect the construction industry to some degree next year.
No matter what the market reports say, contractors have seen a difference in 2019 and they expect it to continue in 2020. In September, the USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index went up to 77, a record high score. In addition, half of the contractors expect revenue to increase over the next year. The majority of contractors also believe their profit margins will increase in 2020.
The report says: “The majority (58%) of contractors report they are highly confident that the next 12 months will bring sufficient business opportunities, a six-point growth over Q2. This is the largest percentage in the last four quarters to report this degree of optimism.” Trends change regularly, but they are still important to watch. You don’t have to jump on every bandwagon, but you don’t want to be left behind by competitors. Learn from the trends, and see what could make a difference for you next year.