Facing Challenges in the Construction Industry

Written by Henry Young. Posted in Real Estate

As world populations continue to grow, the construction industry is continuing to boom. Experts estimate that construction is already worth 11 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, a number which could soar to 13.2 percent by 2020. This massive growth will likely contribute to a number of issues. Discover some of the top challenges facing the construction industry and how professionals in the industry can overcome them.

Productivity Problems

Even though construction workers have access to a record number of jobs, productivity itself isn’t necessarily on the rise. In fact, productivity levels in America have dropped severely since the 1960s, with a value-added per-hour rate that’s growing at a quarter of the rate that manufacturing has. 

With minimal educational requirements for most manual labor jobs, people can find work in the industry. But only 5 percent of builders in America work for firms employing more than 10,000 people.

Much of the lost productivity in the industry is due to waiting for supplies. A study by the Construction Owners Association of America found that 63 percent of direct labor time was spent waiting for deliveries.

How can companies fix this problem? They need to create a building plan and execute that plan, as well as embrace new technologies. Equipment such as 3D printing, drones, and remote-controlled machines can help job progress. Renting equipment such as scissor lifts instead of investing in direct purchases is also a good way to cut capital expenditures and manage capital growth sustainably while increasing productivity.

Labor Shortages

Unfortunately, the construction industry is seeing a reduction of qualified workers. A study by the Associated General Contractors of America discovered that 53 percent of managers could not hire estimators, supervisors, or engineers because they could not find enough of these professionals with the proper experience to hire.

Another study by the U.S. National Association of Home Builders found that 82 percent of companies believed that having a lack of workers was their biggest problem. To correct this issue, companies should begin to prioritize talent management to make workers feel valued, look to nontraditional pools of applicants such as women, and create career incentives.

Sustainability Issues

The world only has so many raw materials to go around, and the construction industry is one of the largest consumers of those materials, creating 25 to 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. While this consumption wasn’t an issue in the past, today, scientists have revealed the harmful nature of this type of consumption. Both climate change and water pollution are huge consequences.

Construction workers will need to alter the ways in which they build by hiring architects that know how to design eco-friendly buildings. A greater step forward would be to switch to sustainable building materials, such as concrete or engineered materials.

The above challenges represent only a few of the issues the construction industry is currently facing. With an eye to the future, companies can work on these current concerns to help the industry continue to grow.