2016 Construction Trends Defining the Industry

Touting itself as the “Top Construction News Daily Newsletter” the website Construction Dive recently published the 2016 Dive Awards for the Construction Industry recognizing the top 10 companies, people, and construction trends defining the industry. According to authors Emily Peiffer and Hallie Busta, the recurring theme for construction in 2016 was an openness to change. Among some of the winners:

Company of the Year: AECOM

Engineering giant AECOM is taking an aggressive approach to sustainability pledging to substantially reduce the company’s carbon emissions over the short term. Reflecting this company’s green ethos is the AECOM designed Golden 1 Center in Sacramento CA scheduled for completion in 2017. This $557 million facility is the world’s first LEED Platinum indoor sports venue generating enough solar energy to compensate for the grid power it uses.

Most disruptive/innovative idea of the year: Mass-timber construction.

Wood frame towers in place of steel? Mass-timber construction is gaining traction as a structural alternative. A growing list of uses cases is helping to get mass-timber more readily accepted by building codes. A great example is the 18 story mass-timber Brock Commons residence hall at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to the cost savings associated with wood, University officials point to a big carbon footprint reduction.

Transformation/turnaround of the year: Union stronghold cities transitioning away from organized labor

As the construction industry picks up steam, construction unions are slowly losing their grip on private markets in typical union strongholds such as New York and Boston. Many firms are now considering allowing collective bargaining to expire due to higher labor costs associated with union shops. Although open-shop models are gaining ground with private projects, unions still dominate public projects.

Obsession of the year: Skilled labor shortage

According to Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders obtaining, recruiting, and retaining labor was the construction industry story of 2016. After losing employees during the last recession, contractors are struggling to source enough skilled workers to meet increasing demand. As a result construction employment growth hit a three year low this summer and wages are raising in an attempt to retain qualified labor.

Policy/regulation of the year: Federal Aviation Administration’s drone rules

The Federal Aviation Administration (FHA) created a new segment of the construction industry when it released its final drone rules last August. Since construction and infrastructure are among the industries in which drones are most used, the formal guidance was welcomed. Although the rules are not perfect, the use of drones is expected to be a game changer for inspection and investigation aspect of construction.

This article features other category winners and is worth checking out. Although the construction industry is currently undergoing changes on many fronts, the one aspect that remains constant for the industry is finding work. Determining who is bidding what has always posed a challenge. A great source of free construction bid leads is LDILine.com which features construction projects currently bidding throughout the southeast. In addition to project and GC information, viewable digital files of each listed project are also available. Once a contractor determines which projects they are interested in, they can obtain hard copy of these project drawings from and of our twenty LDI locations.