Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Accomplishing More With Less

The construction industry is a very fragmented industry. This is among the reasons one does not see the large-scale technological advances like you might see in other sectors.

Having said this, I was with a group of young project managers today, and I was telling them how “things used to be.” Before power screeds and riding trowel machines, the rule of thumb was one finisher for every 1,000 sf. Last Friday I was on one of our pours and we had six of these riding troweling machines. The pour we made the next day was 50,000 sf. In today’s economy, there would be no way to find 50 finishers. Along the way, we also got smarter and started making these large pours starting around 1 am. Less traffic. Lower temps. Better quality.

As we talked a bit more, we all decided that the next 10 years will bring more changes than the last 40 years. Because of the labor market lowering its number, maybe our industry will be forced to accomplish more with less human capital. We should anyway.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.