It’s important to keep an eye on what construction trends will crop up over the coming year. What measures and policies will become more prominent? What new projects and practices will appear?
As we dig deep into the new year and begin making changes in our work environments, it's essential that we take a moment to look ahead and see how the industry is evolving.
1. Safety will be the biggest concern – Safety already is a concern for most companies and project managers, but new technology that emphasizes worker protection will earn time in the limelight this year. As it has been in the past, expect this to be a monumental theme. After all, without your labor force, you won't be able to accomplish anything, so you need to be sure they're protected properly each time they come on the job.
Some new devices we'll see entering the market this year include carbon monoxide-detecting hats, which use noninvasive blood oxygen monitors to alert workers when they are working in areas with high carbon monixide emissions, CO2 bricks and increased safety features for modern rigs and machinery. This may even be a great opportunity for you, as a safety or project manager, to analyze your equipment and workforce in regard to safety.
2. Ground-up construction will be big – There has been a large influx of ground-up commercial construction projects over recent months, and that looks to continue into this year as well.
We shouldn't have to point out all the ideal opportunities and locations for retrofit and renovation projects that exist out there. However, even with the abundance of retrofit space, it looks like most retailers and restaurant owners are looking to instead break new ground.
It goes without saying that general commercial construction contractors will benefit from this new trend. They'll have much more work on their plates, and they'll be able to create different structures from scratch using traditional ground-up measures. It means more revenue and more work for everyone involved.
3. Passive home construction – Net zero energy homes, which rely on solar and renewable energy solutions, gained in popularity in 2014 but I think we’ll see an increase in passive home construction in 2015. Passive homes rely on home design and materials for auxiliary heating and cooling.
4. Lower construction equipment emissions – Going green continues with construction equipment companies creating environmental solutions to lower their footprint. While this trend may not be as hot as the others, it is one worth mentioning. Caterpillar created new power systems and the Tier 4 Final engines that increase fuel efficiency and adheresto government emission standards.
5. Premium talent and skilled workers are growing rare – It's difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this, whether it's because younger crowds are choosing alternative careers or because the older, more skilled workers – like the baby boomers – are retiring. That said, premium talent and more skilled workers are becoming rare, and this is certainly going to get worse over the coming year.
In fact, the entire construction industry is seeing a wide-scale labor shortage, which you probably already have noticed. That means you'll need to loosen your expectations and broaden your horizons when it comes to recruiting new talent.
In other words, consider hiring inexperienced employees and training them, because you might find it hard to locate experienced new employees. Also, expect salaries for skilled workers to rise significantly over the coming year. As talent becomes harder and harder to find, the cost of acquiring existing talent goes up.
About the author: James White is construction worker and an experienced home improvement blogger. His writing has appeared in many publications, including True Look, Constructonomics and Building Blok. White is involved in promoting the ideas of sustainable building and construction safety. And, when he's not saving the planet through his blogging, he revels in exploring the latest developments in the construction industry.