Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

A Look Ahead

This week, I participated in an FMI construction conference in Denver, with the goal of discussing the construction outlook for 2018.

A major item, not surprisingly, was the increasing shortage of labor and new talent in construction. The problem is likely a combination of after-burn from all those leaving the industry during the financial crisis, baby boomers retiring and no resolution to our immigration policy.

Those in the civil segment will likely be affected by the results of a comprehensive infrastructure bill passing or not passing later in the year. It may be doubtful if either the house or the senate flips in the fall. I heard that both Florida and California are tackling their own infrastructure revenue streams and programs going forward.

There are huge housing demands this year, and experts are even predicting a historic shortage of new homes. It also looks like energy infrastructure drivers are rebounding as well.

To me, the general feeling was that we will have a “recessionless” economy the next few years. Our biggest challenge might be the labor talent pool, and at the same time figuring out how technology can do more with less.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.