It can be difficult to keep up in the construction industry with ever-changing technology and competitors in the market. That’s why it’s important for your construction business to understand the trends and statistics that can help you gain a competitive edge. Of course, utilizing technology as a contractor usually requires an investment, but how do you decide what technologies will truly make an impact and which ones will just burn a hole in your pocket?
Technologies that are gaining mainstream adoption
Not everyone has the luxury of testing out every new piece of technology, so it can pay to sit back a bit and see what technologies the early adopters favor. The following technologies are already gaining some mainstream acceptance in the construction world and are likely here to stay.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
BIM is a major trend in the construction world. This is a process used in the construction industry that can generate a visual representation of a building project that allows contractors to more easily plan, construct, and design. You can control the scope of the project from the very start to finish with this technology. Also, you can plan ahead to make modifications if needed and prepare for such changes to prevent unnecessary costs and lost time. This technology makes it incredibly easy to improve your efficiency by being able to manage your projects in a digital space. Some companies have started using BIM in conjunction with virtual reality to actually “walk-around” in projects before they even begin.
While you may see hobbyists flying drones around your neighborhood, their commercial application in the construction world has really taken off. Drones are being used in site surveys and creating topographical maps. Best of all, they can safely navigate around nearly any job site to gather information or provide imagery.
For construction companies down to small business contractors, mobile technology is becoming more and more normalized in the industry. Mobile apps like JobFLEX can increase productivity in the estimating and invoicing process, and beyond that, there are any number of mobile applications designed specifically for contractors of all types.???. Check out some of our top picks on our blog:
- Apps for plumbers
- Apps for handymen
- Apps for electricians
- Apps for painters
- Apps for HVAC contractors
- Apps for concrete contractors
- Apps for drywallers
- Apps for fencing contractors
Other data and trends to keep an eye on
Outside of the new technologies that are changing the world for construction companies and contractors, there’s a lot of data available that can help you identify upcoming trends and position your business appropriately. The site BigRentz.com pulled together a very large, and very detailed list of construction statistics for 2019 that’s probably worth a look for any contractor. We’ve pulled out a few interesting nuggets to think about, but we recommend you give it a look for yourself.
Rising construction costs
On a global basis, they are expected to rise by 4.3% on average according to Turner & Townsend. This is crucial to keep in mind when thinking about managing your profit margins. This rise in construction costs has been steady over the past decade and it is only expected to keep trending upwards. Also, depending on the location of the construction project, costs can significantly vary with New York being one of the most expensive places to build and San Francisco coming in a close second. With the pressure to use green products, this can also place another challenge on keeping costs low, as these products are typically more costly upfront.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average hourly wage of all construction employees is $29.95, up nearly four percent from 2017. With 35% of construction firms increasing their staff size in 2019, it’s going to be increasingly costly to attract and maintain workers as your business grows.
Location, location, location
While the construction industry is growing overall, it’s important to know that much of that growth is highly concentrated. According to Built Worlds, 50% of all U.S. construction in the next five years will take place in just 20 cities, with 20% of that coming from just five cities:
- New York
- Los Angeles
Continue to focus on safety
Everyone knows that construction work can be dangerous, but it’s important to take steps to curb the most dangerous elements of the job. Over 64% of job fatalities come from either falls, electrocution, being struck by an object or being crushed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls were the biggest concern, accounting for 39% of all deaths.
Promotion on social media has become a big deal
75% of construction companies now market themselves through social media. This statistic shouldn’t be incredibly shocking considering the world we live in today, but this implies that more than likely, your competitors are also using social media. At this point, if your construction business is not taking advantage of being on social media, you are a few steps behind your competition. These platforms give you the opportunity to truly connect with your customers while learning more about what they expect and want out of construction services.
How are you dealing with emerging trends and technology?
Many of these construction trends have the potential to change the business landscape within the industry. From labor shortages of highly skilled workers to rising material costs, it may only become more challenging to make ends meet as a construction business. As you review these issues, it’s important to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “How does our business plan to stay in front of the curve?”