Overall, the commercial building industry had a good year in 2021. Overall, construction spending increased, with residential construction spending rising while nonresidential investment fell for the second year in a row.
Construction firms have had to contend with ongoing labour shortages as well as delays in receiving building materials due to supply challenges and increased material prices. They've also had to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, first with the Delta variety early this year and then with the Omicron variation later this year, which appears to be more transmissible even among those who have been vaccinated.
In this article, we take a look at 5 Commercial Construction Trends that are impacting the industry in 2022.
1. Put-in-Place Growth in the Construction Industry
Through November 2021, building investment totaled $1.46 trillion, putting the year on track to be another record-breaking year for construction put-in-place. ConstructConnect estimates that total put-in-place in 2021 will be roughly $1.57 trillion, up 6.8% from 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau compiles construction put-in-place monthly, which is the projected total dollar value of building work done in the United States.
ConstructConnect anticipates a 6.6 percent growth in put-in-place to $1.67 trillion in 2022. After two years of decreased construction investment due to the pandemic, nonresidential building is expected to rebound in 2022, rising 5.6 percent to $837 billion.
Residential construction investment isn't likely to grow at the same rate as commercial building.
2. Construction Employment & Labor Woes
Since the Great Recession, the construction industry has been dealing with a skilled labour shortage. The challenge back then, as it is now, is that more workers are retiring from the sector than are joining it. To keep up with demand, construction companies will have to boost their efforts to find, train, and retain experienced personnel.
Construction work has a reputation for being filthy, hazardous, labor-intensive, and low-paying. While some of this is true, the construction business provides a diverse range of high-paying employment as well as several prospects for promotion into profitable positions.
3. Costs of Materials and Supply Chain Issues
The huge rise in construction material prices was another big issue in construction last year. Earlier this year, the cost of softwood timber, particleboard, and oriented strand board, as well as ordinary gasoline and diesel fuel, had more than doubled from the previous year. Plywood, asphalt, and iron and steel scrap all saw significant price increases.
While some materials' prices have begun to fall in recent months, most construction material costs are projected to fluctuate further in 2022. Inputs to new construction, excluding capital expenditure, labour, and imports, were up 20.54 percent from a year ago in November 2021, according to the most latest data.
4. Focus on Jobsite Safety
In the construction sector, jobsite safety is always a hot topic. Year after year, construction worker deaths are the highest of all industries. The construction business is also known for having one of the highest fatal injury rates of any industry.
As previously said, the construction business has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous. The only way to make a difference is to reduce the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries. This begins with each company prioritising safety as a high concern.
Since the epidemic, several businesses have placed a higher emphasis on employee mental health and overall well-being. In order for construction companies to compete for top personnel, safety and physical and mental health will be a primary concern in 2022 and beyond.
5. Adoption of Construction Technology
If the epidemic has taught us anything, it's that the construction sector has begun to embrace technology in order to keep their projects and businesses on track. Something as unusual as a virtual pre-bid meeting or site visit became typical at the start of the pandemic.
While the sector as a whole has a reputation for being hesitant to adapt and invest in technology, those companies that do are enjoying the rewards. Construction technology will continue to make progress in addressing some of the industry's most pressing issues, including safety, productivity, and labour shortages.
On construction sites, we're seeing robots, drones, and self-driving construction equipment. They are executing jobs that formerly required skilled personnel and are assisting in the reduction of the number of people who are employed.