By Jay Bowman
Pandemics force a mass reckoning, and 2020 left no one untouched. The events of the past year, from stop work and shelter-in-place orders to massive unemployment, half a million people dead from COVID-19, and a wave of natural disasters, catalyzed changes long at work in the construction industry nearly overnight. The way we work has changed, and as we rebuild, the question is not only how to recover, but also how we want the future to look.
This spring, the nation’s baseball stadiums have been turned into mass vaccination sites, trillion-dollar pieces of legislation are being pushed through Congress by a new administration, and a full reopening is finally in sight. It is time for contractors to focus on the years that come after the pandemic, an era in which 60% of baby boomers will reach retirement age, and labor shortages will attenuate at the same time as technology uptake accelerates, changing the very definition of our work.
10 Important Trends for Contractors:
- 1. The Impact of Minimum Wage Increase
2. The Skilled Labor Shortage
3. Vaccination of Employees and Subcontractors
4. Succession Planning
5. Contractual Risk Shifting by Owners
6. Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
7. Autonomous Vehicles
8. Distributed Energy Resources
9. Stimulus and Other Infrastructure Spending
10. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Those in the engineering and construction industry who approached this year as a logistical and imaginative challenge have found that solutions are often within their capabilities. Data-sharing protocols and in-house security apparatus have allowed builders to forge ahead, while those who have invested in the next generation of leadership found themselves adaptable in a landscape that seemed to shift from day to day. The period of change is far from over, and the question for those bidding projects is, now you’ve survived, how will you adapt?