It looks like the construction industry could be on a roll for a while. According to FMI an American management consulting and market research company, residential construction should see a solid growth rate of 8% from now through to 2019. Multi-family construction should see even stronger performance, continuing its current double-digit progression well into the future.
You might say the force is with us.
There is a downside however to this heating up of the industry. We can see skilled labour shortages: A recent report in USA today indicated that builders are again having more trouble finding skilled labourers than they were only a year ago. Not surprising: the Baby boomer generation is retiring and many of the workers that left when the industry crashed in 2008, didn’t come back. On top of it all, salaries are on the rise, which in itself is good, but it is also an additional cost for builders to deal with.
So what can you do to ensure you’ll attract skilled workers, as well as keep your costs down? Here are three tips (cue stirring Star Wars Music in your head as you read this):
1. Use up to date construction materials you must
Improving technology is everywhere, including in construction. Customers expect it, workers expect it, so use the latest building materials. Engineered wood, for example, which started out as a novelty in the 1970’s now dominates the residential construction industry because it is precise and lightweight, something that both designers and framers can appreciate. And it is continuing to evolve. A product like Open Joist Triforce® for example, has 100% robotic manufacturing, with the joists being tested for load bearing. Working with light, dependable, precise materials means less fussing and more peace of mind for your workers. It makes a difference.
2. Keep costs down you must
Your costs don’t just include materials and labour. Whether you like it or not, your total costs include the mistakes, tear outs, unplanned retrofits, repairs, engineer’s approvals if needed, and the cost of delays. Using trimmable joists instead of floor trusses for your floor system, for example, can allow you to quickly and easily make adjustments on the fly without an engineer’s delayed approval. Using an open joist design instead of I-Joist design will reduce the likelihood of MEP trades cutting into the joists incorrectly and compromising structural integrity. Joists that include both these advantages are also less expensive than you might expect.
3. Build with green materials you must
Eco-responsibility has become an expectation at all levels of the industry. Professionals expect materials that are safe for the environment and for workers. Homeowners expect the same and responsibly sourced materials. Engineered wood, made from younger trees as well as from what used to be considered wood wastes, fits the bill. It is more eco-friendly than steel, cement or even dimensional lumber.
Learn more about the open joist TRIFORCE® quality, ease of use, cost competitiveness and environmental benefits by downloading our specifier and installation guides. Or contact us directly. We’ll be happy to help.