Shift the Equation: Navigating the Labor Shortage

07.17.2018

Navigating the labor shortage is challenging, but advancements in concrete technology are helping contractors gain more control over labor and production.

 

Contractors are maestros of the jobsite and masters of planning for flawless execution. But if you’re a contractor, you know that even the best plans can fall victim to faulty execution if you can’t orchestrate the right balance between time, labor and materials. If these elements fall  out of line and out of your control, it’s only a matter of time until your profitability spirals out  of your control as well. 

It’s no secret that the current labor shortage in the construction industry is wreaking havoc on contractors everywhere, and it’s not going away any time soon. The pain of the construction labor shortage is real, and it is well-documented: According to the Associated General  Contractors of America, 70 percent of contractors are struggling to find qualified workers to fill the current demand.1 An analysis performed by The National Association of  Homebuilders estimates that there were 250,000 unfilled construction jobs in the beginning of 2018, resulting in a failure to build enough single-family homes to keep up with demand.2  It’s not just hiring woes that are plaguing the industry, either. The effects of being short-staffed are obvious on budget sheets, project schedules and the inability to deliver great service  to customers. 

 

Material and Technology: Concrete Answers to Today’s Labor Shortage

As efforts to attract more workers to the construction industry gain traction, what can you do right now to counter the threats to your bottom line? Can you control the elements of  labor supply and demand? The obvious answer is no. Can you reduce labor threats by thinking about how innovation and materials can help you regain control over your resources? 

Many forward-thinking contractors are doing just that. Contractors who are trying more advanced, proprietary concrete mixes are getting high early strength on pours within hours instead of days. They’re distributing slab pours and fill forms without the vibration that traditional concrete formulations require. So much depends on  getting structures into service quickly and optimizing labor productivity especially when labor is not readily available.

 

Looking Ahead

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the labor situation in the construction industry is perilous, and it is only getting worse. Older workers are retiring, not only reducing the labor force in terms of number but also in terms of expertise. Less-experienced workers will be aggressively recruited into higher-level, more advanced tasks, further increasing the need for entry-level staff. While K-12 education shifts to meet this growing need, contractors need to fill the gaps today.

One way to solve a labor shortage is to become more efficient in other areas of your project, and innovations in construction materials are doing just that.  
To reduce the risk of delivering projects behind schedule or over budget, take a look at the research and development being produced by LafargeHolcim. Chronolia and Agila are just two concrete solutions that are allowing construction teams to be more efficient and optimize resources in new and exciting ways.

The concrete solutions developed by LafargeHolcim are rigorously tested by  some of the world’s most prominent experts, and its network of laboratories  create consistent, reliable formulas that help design and construction professionals build better.

 

 

 

Sources

1 “SEVENTY-PERCENT OF CONTRACTORS HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING QUALIFIED CRAFT WORKERS TO HIRE AMID GROWING CONSTRUCTION DEMAND, NATIONAL SURVEY FINDS.” Construction Data | Associated General Contractors, Associated General Contractors of America , 29 Aug. 2017, www.agc.org/news/2017/08/29/seventy-percent-contractors-have-hard-time-finding-qualified-craft-workers-hire-amid.

2 Parker, Chris. “What’s Holding Back New Home Construction? There’s No One to Build ‘Em!.” Realtor.com®, Realtor.com, 19 Apr. 2018, www.realtor.com/news/trends/construction-worker-shortage/.

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