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Russ MacDonald

Preparing for the year ahead can set your construction firm up for success in 2018 while simultaneously helping you avoid major setbacks. In order to stay competitive, the following are five major construction trends for 2018:

  • Technology advancements — The construction industry is notoriously slow at adopting new technologies. However, firms may soon have no choice but to pivot their business practices, as 3D printing, cloud applications and drone usage will likely boom in 2018.
  • Modular and prefabrication construction — In 2017, modular and prefabrication construction grew in popularity due to its cost effectiveness and efficiency. This trend will likely continue in 2018, especially when you consider that material prices aren't expected to fall.
  • An increased focus on safety — The construction industry is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous. Following higher levels of scrutiny, expect a continued focus on crafting better safety procedures and utilizing more safety technology.
  • Continued labour shortages — Labour shortages in the construction industry are nothing new and will likely continue to plague firms across the country. With a small pool of qualified candidates, firms may struggle to find enough skilled craft workers to meet growing demands.
  • Sustainability — Over the last few years, firms may have noticed a greater emphasis on green products and construction practices. Sustainability will be important throughout 2018, and companies that fail to consider their environmental impact may lose out on new projects.

Organizations can't always predict what factors will have the greatest impact on future business. However, with the above trends in mind, companies can avoid major risks and ensure they remain competitive throughout the year.

2018 Industry Forecast

For 2018, forecasts for the Canadian construction industry have been somewhat positive. One report from Oldcastle Business Intelligence anticipates industry growth at 4 per cent, with specific sectors like residential construction showing stable increases.

However, uncertainty around the trading relationship with the United States is a major threat. If the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were to fall through, the Canadian economy, including the construction industry, would suffer. In addition, construction and material costs across North America could increase up to 3 per cent.

(Article by Russ MacDonald of Heritage Insurance)

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