Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Contractors Turning to Alternative Construction Solutions Amid Workforce Shortage

From an article in

To offset the lack of skilled workers, contractors increase use of efficient building approaches such as prefabrication and modular building

The Q1 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (Index) reveals nearly two-thirds of contractors are highly confident that demand for commercial construction will increase over the next year; however, continued concerns around labor shortages have put even greater pressure on the industry. To increase jobsite efficiency and improve labor productivity, increasingly more builders are turning to alternative construction solutions, like prefabrication and modularization.

The Q1 Index indicates contractors turn to innovations such as prefabricated and modular building materials to create more efficient jobsites (89%), increase labor productivity (85%), drive cost savings (58%), and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace (51%). In fact, 50% of contractors report their companies already use prefabricated and modular components and the number was even higher among general contractors (72%). Nearly two-thirds (63%) of contractors report at least moderate demand for these building materials.

"Access to skilled labor is a continued concern, which has led contractors to increasingly seek solutions that help offset jobsite challenges,” said Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG Corporation. “There is significant opportunity to introduce innovations that confront jobsite efficiency and strengthen the industry — such as solutions that enable prefabricated and modular building components.”

Contractors in the Northeast (69%) reported the most frequent usage of prefabricated and modular components, compared to the South where only 24% indicate their companies are using these materials. Firms in the Northeast also expect to hire fewer workers — 38% of contractors in the region expect to employ more staff in the next six months, compared with 57% in the South, 59% in the West, and 68% in the Midwest. Across all regions, concern over the cost of hiring skilled labor has remained consistent over the past year — nearly two-thirds (64%) of contractors expect these costs to increase in the next six months.

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