Over the past couple of years, the industry has seen fairly solid growth — in the range of 7-13% annually. But this year, the forecast isn’t so sunny.
According to ConstructConnect’s 2018 Construction Industry Economic Outlook, new construction starts in the industrial sector, which saw a 22.8% increase last year, may decrease by more than 5% this year. Similarly, retail construction is slowing further — it dipped 16.5% last year and may decrease another 2-3% this year.
But fewer construction starts doesn’t mean costs will go down. Construction spending has seen steady increases every year since 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that spending in the first nine months of 2017 totaled $917 billion — up 4.3% from the same period the previous year.
With the number of construction starts decreasing, competition will be fierce. The ability to bid competitively, complete projects quickly and on or under budget, and still make a profit — all without sacrificing safety or quality — will be a delicate balancing act for firms. Firms must find ways to differentiate themselves during the bidding process, then follow through with high productivity and efficient operations, to ensure on-time, on-budget project completion.
Creating Differentiation with Cameras
Construction cameras can play a critical part in helping firms improve jobsite efficiencies while enhancing communication between stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
Advanced solutions offer time-lapse photography, live video streaming and security recording to help managers track projects from start to finish, cut costs and speed project completion.
But cameras don’t only improve efficiency — they can help construction companies stand out among competitors during project bidding. Here’s how:
- Proposals are better with video. A picture’s worth 1,000 words, but video tells the whole story. Firms can use time-lapse video (or even live video streaming) during the project proposal process to show, not tell, about successful project completions. If you’re up against another firm who only has a few photos, think of the impact your video will have on the decision maker.
- The ability to ensure a secure, productive jobsite. Including construction cameras as part of the deal puts clients at ease that your jobsite will be secure and productive. Around-the-clock video footage provides theft prevention, and documents any policy violations, reducing risk.
- The promise of enhanced collaboration and transparency throughout the project lifecycle. Real-time footage from well-placed jobsite cameras can be streamed to remote desktop or mobile users, reducing travel time for stakeholders, while keeping everyone updated on the progress of a project. Footage from the jobsite provides transparency to investors, so if there’s a delay, there’s no question as to the cause.
- Enhanced surveillance helps minimize delays. Remote project managers can use footage from construction cameras to spot potential problems before they cause delays, and take action to prevent the project from slipping schedule.
- Better team collaboration keeps projects on-track. Remote access to live video streaming reduces required travel while keeping stakeholders up to date on project progress. With everyone on the same page — regardless of their geographical location — decision making is faster and better-informed, which helps speed project completion and could improve project quality.
What Will Turn the Tide?
Several factors may turn the tide for construction growth over time. The need to rebuild after the recent onslaught of natural disasters will necessitate new building. In the residential sector, an aging demographic of millennials looking to purchase homes may bode well for the industry. And for non-residential construction, proposed tax reforms may encourage investment in new projects.
Meanwhile, only firms that can compete effectively will earn new business. Demonstrating the ability to run efficient projects and highly productive crews will set successful construction firms apart, and help them continue to win business, even as competition intensifies.