8 construction trends to watch in 2018

Date: 23 Jan 2018

After a robust 2017, commercial construction companies are anticipating an even stronger 2018, with the majority reporting they plan to expand their staffs, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

As professionals seek to map out 2018 and beyond, there are a number of trends shaping the construction industry. Some are evolutions of past years, such as offsite construction and an increasing reliance on technology, and some trends are new, such as a focus on resiliency after the most damaging hurricane season on record and devastating fires in California.

Other trends that will shape construction revolve around policy, both federal and state, the ongoing labor shortage and gargantuan projects, including Amazon’s much-anticipated HQ2.

Read on for our list of the top eight trends to monitor this year.

Resiliency takes center stage

Resiliency is set to be one of the construction industry’s watchwords for 2018 after last year’s onslaught of hurricanes, heat waves, cold waves, flooding, tornadoes and wildfires. Property owners took a total financial hit that is still climbing and could reach nearly $400 billion, according to Vox.

Rather than throwing up duplicate replacement structures, more owners will likely heed the call of organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council and demand resilient site and structure features. The USGBC in November announced it would adopt construction standard RELi, which awards points for resilient features such as adaptive design for extreme weather events and their resulting hazards, communications and first-aid resources.

The Trump administration also used last year’s natural disasters to underscore how important building for resiliency is by declaring November 2017 as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. The administration’s proclamation was intended to highlight how important it is to keep vital infrastructure up and running — no matter the weather or other extreme conditions — for national security purposes.

In the coming year, the industry may see more resilient projects mimic those already underway, like the raising of streets in Miami Beach or the building of earthquake-resistant skyscrapers sans rebar in California. Certainly architects, engineers and contractors will be critical to rebuilding efforts, but business as usual could be a thing of the past.

Short on labor — still

The construction industry will continue to contend with a limited supply of skilled craft workers. Officials in various parts of the country have used words like “dire” and “scary” to describe the availability of qualified labor as younger individuals resist construction as a career option and more baby boomers retire. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported in December that November construction employment increased to its highest level since the same month in 2008, but that this has resulted in a smaller pool of candidates, likely constraining future hiring efforts.

[Ref: constructiondive.com]

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