Josh Thompson is the founder and leader of Thompson Exterior Servicesa construction and maintenance company.
Working in the facade maintenance and construction industry is one of the best decisions I’ve made and it’s something I’ve enjoyed immensely over the past 10 years. However, like any industry, construction has its challenges, just like being a leader in this industry. Here are some of the key challenges I see for the construction industry and its leaders, as well as ways we can address them.
1. Material and delivery costs
This is a challenge for many industries. Materials are generally some of the biggest costs in construction, so the rise in material costs is having a huge impact on the industry. Inflation and supply chain disruptions have made the cost of acquiring the necessary materials for construction become both: more expensive and time consuming.
A general tip I have is to make connections with suppliers. Knowing your suppliers will give you a better idea of the process and what the cost will be for each material. Another tip is to be aware of material costs so that when making a budget you can determine how much the materials will cost you. This way you avoid unwanted surprises for both you and your customers.
2. Shortage of workers
The shortage of skilled labor is one of the most well-known problems facing the construction industry today. In order for the construction to function properly, there must be enough people to get the job done. A shortage of people can lead to burnout, which can lead to a further decline in skilled workers as more workers leave the industry.
This is a big problem that we have to grapple with. In order to avoid serious shortages in the company, construction leaders must make construction an attractive industry to enter. For example, supervisors should provide adequate training to ensure that employees have the right skills to perform the required tasks. This can be done through internship programs and annual continuing education programmes. Providing competitive salaries and an environment where employees feel valued and respected can also help create a company that attracts new employees.
The weather has always presented challenges to construction, but it is becoming an even bigger problem. Climate change has increased the number of extreme weather events. According to the EPAclimate change is likely to lead to more heat waves and storms.
Construction workers have been hit hard by the weather. If there is extreme weather, be it rain, snow or heat, they cannot work. Storms can also slow down or ruin the progress they make with projects. Delays due to the weather and lost progress mean lost money.
At the same time, the weather can be dangerous for workers, and construction supervisors are responsible for the safety of their workers. While it is unfortunately impossible to fully plan the weather, having procedures in place in case of unpredictable weather can help alleviate this challenge. For example, set guidelines about under which temperatures and weather conditions employees can work and in which employees cannot work. When planning and working on a project, it is a must to take into account the weather conditions generally associated with each season.
4. Meeting Technology Advances
This is a challenge that doesn’t necessarily have to be a challenge if you are proactive. If a company doesn’t work to keep up with the changes in construction that technological advancements require, they will have a hard time being successful. Today’s construction requires not only knowing how to use your hands, but also how to use technology such as AI, drones and much more.
However, this challenge is also an opportunity. Construction leaders can use familiarity with and ability to use advanced technology as a selling point to attract new customers.
Construction can be a challenging industry, but I believe it’s worth it. Analyzing the challenges and seeing how best to tackle them can really make a difference. Being proactive in general—whether it’s integrating new technology into your business or creating a better work environment for employees—can be the difference between a company that succeeds and one that falls behind. A sign of a good leader is that he can take the lead when challenges arise.