The construction industry continues to thrive despite a labor shortage resulting in part from the Great Recession. Experts now expect to see improved growth over the new few years. Yet, many companies are anxious to see how the new president and his policies will affect the industry.
Experts predict spending on total construction will increase in 2017 by 6.3 percent over 2016, and by 7.2 percent in 2018. Total nonresidential construction spending anticipates a 5.5 percent increase this year. Investors, developers and builders are cautiously optimistic. To counter the effects of e-commerce, the retail industry is now working to make the shopping experience more enjoyable, and therefore a reason for people to shop at local malls. That, experts say, should help fuel continued growth.
Modular construction, a process in which a building is constructed off-site under virtually identical circumstances as on-site projects, has been around for decades. Business owners have only recently developed a serious interest in it given the number of high-profile projects in the past few years. Owners also realize modular can be done in a shorter amount of time for less money.
Two technologies that will be the rave of the construction industry include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). A digital recreation of the real world, VR is generally experienced through the use of special headsets or visors. A couple of VR headsets to have reached the construction market recently are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. This technology is used more off-site by architects and engineers while AR, which involves placing a single piece of virtual, or digitally simulated, information to a specific point in reality, has greater use on construction sites.
A Labor Shortage
Construction has experienced a labor shortage for some time now, and industry sources expect it to worsen. The good news is mainly for construction workers, since labor shortages are driving up construction costs. The labor shortage will also result in longer construction schedules.
Constructions Costs Will Rise
Commercial construction costs will increase this year by three to 4.5 percent in six major markets across the U.S., including three in the Midwest, Mortenson’s quarterly Construction Cost Index predicts. Consequently, it adds, construction costs nationwide should go up as well. This all is due largely to rising labor costs caused by the current labor shortage.
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