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What’s Ahead for the Construction Industry in 2016?

The good news for the construction industry in 2016 is that it’s expected to continue growing overall, with the residential building sector leading the way followed closely by commercial. Some industry analysts predict that U.S. construction starts will increase 6 percent to $712 billion in 2016, following estimated gains of 13 percent in 2015.

But analyst predictions don’t do any good if your business isn’t seeing the profits you expect. Fortunately, 2016 also will bring some key industry trends to help you grow your business and improve return on investment (ROI).

Strategy to Stay in the Black

In today’s global economy, developments around the world increasingly affect businesses everywhere. Beyond keeping an eye on the local economy, it’s important to be aware of other factors helping to shape the future construction outlook, such as lower oil prices worldwide and foreign currency shifts. To improve their company’s ability to ride out these global ups and downs, many large construction firms are adopting new strategies and tools to track spending to make sure they’re able to stay in the black, regardless of the economic climate.

Green Building

Speaking of the climate, the developments at the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change late last year gave a boost to the topic of sustainability and green building. In fact, during the Greenbuild 2015 conference, the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) reported that the green building market is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2020. As USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi said, “Profitability is sustainable and sustainability is profitable.”

Technology Advancements

More and more companies are embracing technology tools to improve productivity and increase ROI. Robots are being used more than ever, big data aggregation applications are helping to save time, and drones are flying above many job sites.

The importance of new technology advancements was emphasized at the recent Engineering News-Record FutureTech conference where the CTO for engineering consultant Black & Veatch said that today’s businesses need to be open to new technology including Building Information Modeling, mobile devices and data analysis tools. Staying ahead of the competition means learning how to adapt and putting advanced technology to work.

Additionally, the willingness to embrace new technology can help companies overcome the most commonly mentioned trend for the construction industry in 2016, which is the shortage of skilled labor. Although most experts predict this shortage will continue well into 2016, technology tools like the ToolHound 5 inventory management system help you maximize the productivity of your existing workforce by automating and streamlining equipment check-in/check-out for peak efficiency.

What trends do you think will be most important this year?