5 Trends To Watch in Construction for 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant economic effect globally during 2021. In its wake, it left the construction industry in shambles as projects were stalled, workers were laid off, and contractors suffered.
In this sense, the industry in Canada also wasn't spared. And it’s a massive industry. In fact, the construction industry in Canada employs about 1.2 million people, or 7% of the Canadian workforce.
The fact that it’s big may also be its saving grace. As the need for infrastructure continues to grow, it's widely expected that the construction industry will rebound quickly as the pandemic passes.
So, what are some trends in the coming year? Let's take a look.
Health Protocols Are Here To Stay
Obviously, due to health concerns around the pandemic, it's expected that increased hygiene and health protocols are here to stay. In the past year, this has led to improved bathrooms and handwashing facilities on construction sites to curb the spread of the virus.
Strong Investment in Infrastructure
Large investments in construction are planned across Canada. For example, the Governments of Canada and Alberta have committed almost $53 million to the completion of several infrastructure projects. Also, the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF) has committed $150 million for the repair and improvement of community infrastructure across the country.
In addition, there are also plans for the development of an $8 billion project to transport up to 830 000 barrels a day of oil from Alberta to Nebraska.
Under the Investing in Canada Plan, the Canadian government has committed to building and maintaining over $180- billion worth of key infrastructure over the next decade. This commitment includes funding for projects relating to public transport, affordable housing, and developing rural housing.
Sure, there is some doubt if these funds will reach the industry this year as billions are still uncommitted since 2018, but the hopes are there that differences in social policies will make way for economic recovery and investment.
New Jobs Will Be Created
With the industry expected to grow in the coming years following a disastrous 2020, a larger workforce will be needed. At this stage, it's expected that 100 000 new jobs will be created in the Canadian construction sector as other parts of the economy recover and expand.
Digital Transformation and Automation
The pandemic has given many businesses the impetus to accelerate their digital transformation strategies, and the construction sector hasn't been an exception. With this, it's possible to use technology to connect and manage projects remotely while keeping abreast of physical distancing requirements. Because of it’s convenience and effectiveness, it’s expected that this trend will continue.
As far as automation goes, the construction has a fairly low risk of automation-based job losses, simply because much of the work requires manual labor that's difficult to replicate with machines. That being said, automation is slowly making its way into the construction industry and it is something to watch out for.
What Does This All Mean?
By this time, it's evident that the construction industry faced severe challenges during 2020. In 2021, however, the industry is expected to see strong growth as the economy is resuscitated, and stalled or delayed projects are reengaged.
As they say, only time will tell, but if the expectations are realized, 2021 promises to be a better year for the construction industry.
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