The economy is always a moving target, in that there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows. The reasons that these highs and lows occur can be varied, such as a natural disaster can affect a particular industry. In other cases, it may be due to financial or economic factors around the world, or even right here in our own country.
Now it looks like the USA, through a combination of the effects of a trade war, as well as other economic factors around the world, such as Brexit and the European Union, may be looking at a recession. If this happens, how does this affect construction? Is it even possible to do well in struggling economic conditions?
Follow The Economic Factors
We now live in a world where, like it or not, the economic fortunes of American companies are often deeply interconnected with businesses and markets in other countries. The current US/China trade war, for example, has profound effects on construction, as the tariffs imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum pass those expenses down to American businesses.
By following these factors and anticipating them, businesses can sometimes mitigate or circumvent these issues by taking them into account when planning. Choosing Mexican, Canadian, or even Vietnamese steel and aluminum, for example, is one way to get around the hefty prices people now pay for Chinese raw materials.
Consider Offsite Construction
Another way to keep the construction business evolving is to address a new trend in the future of construction; modular, off-site building. Rather than building all of a structure’s components on-site, as required, there’s a growing trend to build specific components off-site, then move them to the construction site and assemble them there.
This provides two big advantages to those businesses that use this technique, it provides a controlled environment, where construction of the modules can take place regardless of the weather, as this is often done indoors, in larger assembly facilities, and it also brings a measure of increased safety, since the controlled environment means fewer unpredictable variables to worry about. No gale force winds, for example, are going to impact workers and possibly endanger them, or the quality of their work.
Take Advantage Of Technology
The companies that thrive in difficult economic conditions are the ones that can deliver on quality and reliability with efficiency. Technology is the answer to meeting these three needs. If you aren’t already, think about using newer technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to boost your operations.
These technologies, when used properly, make it possible for construction companies do more faster, and at lower costs. BIM software can be crucial in the planning stages of a project for ensuring that a building is as feasible as possible, with no unpleasant structural discoveries only when it’s too late. ERP software, on the other hand, is all about using your existing staff, technology, and resources as efficiently as possible during the course of a project. A time card app, for example, is one way that a construction business can improve, speed up, and streamline the process of managing workers and accurately recording their hours, which has a long term, positive, knock-on effect on overall company spending and budgets, by reducing delays and errors for everyone.