As uncertainties continue to loom over the commercial construction industry since the time of last year’s presidential elections, experts predict some really interesting developments- some positive, some not-so-positive. Since the great recession, construction workers have been forced to look for other occupations, which have, over time, translated into labor shortage even though the condition gradually started improving. In the period April 2006-January 2011, the construction industry eliminated 2.3 million jobs, cutting down its workforce by 40 percent. Experts believe that the labor shortage will continue even in 2017 with its long term impacts showing up as higher costs and extended project timelines.
As people continue to speculate the impacts of the Trump administration on the commercial construction industry, here we highlight a few projected trends that may define the developments in this sector this year:
- Experts opine that modular construction will become more popular as people look to address their concerns on costs, labor, quality, and project timelines.
- With President Trump suggesting a $1 trillion infrastructure plan for the next 10 years through private-public relationships, construction companies have started speculating an infrastructure spending boost in the near future.
- The players in sustainable construction movement are more likely to put forward a new message. So far, the sustainable construction movement has been focusing on climate change, but now it is most likely to promote awareness by focussing on how high-performing, eco-smart buildings can help people lower their energy bills and create new job opportunities. With more people demanding the installation of energy-efficient features at their homes, sustainable construction, which is now an exception, will become a norm.
- The commercial construction sector is expected to witness a widespread use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). This year, we may witness the introduction of new VR headsets similar to Oculus Rift and HTC Vibe. Such technologies typically promote real-time collaboration among stakeholders, stronger project visualizations, and smoother adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) applications.
- This year, we expect to see safer work sites. Last year, OSHA increased its penalties by 78 percent, which is most likely to boost compliance, thereby making jobsites safer.
It is anticipated that this year, construction spending will be the highest in three sectors- office (12.9%), healthcare (12.6%), and lodging (12.4%). However, the news is not so good for all industries with a 7.2 percent decline in construction spending being anticipated in industrial/ manufacturing sectors.