A new CSIRO report, Farsight For Construction, investigates the future of the Australian construction industry, identifying trends and exploring potential impacts. For business owners, it is important to stay ahead, technologically, socially, and environmentally.
Below are the top five construction trends shaping Australian employment, industries, and economies in 2017.
Demographia’s 13th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey: 2017 deemed Australian housing ‘severely unaffordable.’ The study rated Sydney as the second most unaffordable major housing marketing in the world under Hong Kong, while Melbourne came in sixth.
The average household size continues to decline, while the population increases, forcing much of the market to look for cheaper housing alternatives. Inflation continues to affect the construction industry, with heightening cost-sensitivities surrounding new developments and maintenance of infrastructure.
The aging Australian workforce is unable to keep up with the physical demands of onsite jobs in the industry. Mature tradies are in demand for their abilities, but with their ages comes exhaustion and other health implications.
Skill shortages in the Australian labour market are prevalent among the new generation of apprentices. According to the Farsight report, “Few younger men and women saw construction jobs as desirable, leading to massive skills shortages and high wages, and exacerbating the chronic affordability crisis.” Current models for training and upskill are flawed, and while technology develops, the industry continues to be reliant on manual labour. Pressures on the construction industry is resulting in direct strain on its workers.
Extreme weather including heatwaves and storms, particularly in tropical regions, cause significant upsets to the construction industry in Australia. Environmental impacts are expected to increase in frequency and severity, causing setbacks to infrastructural projects. Average temperatures are predicted to rise all year round, with the construction industry likely to suffer the most.
Frequent weather events are impacting on productivity and absenteeism during the warmer months of the year. Construction estimating software is being adopted by the construction industry so the costs of extreme weather events are being considered in the budgeting and early stages of proposal.
As the industry is dependent on physical outdoor labour, research and innovative ventures are being made to alleviate risks associated with the intensifying environmental conditions. Automation, robotics, employee monitoring, and wearable technologies are all promising solutions ahead to ensure the safety of workers.
The US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) found Australia fared worse than the global average, with $108 million wasted for every billion dollars spent on infrastructure.
The Productivity Commission's report, Public Infrastructure Financing: An International Perspective, suggested improvements to finance public infrastructure, manage and align incentives, and examine risks during contract negotiations. A growing infrastructure deficit calls for better investment planning and allocation of resources through construction software Australia. “A recent estimate of the gap between existing and required stock of infrastructure was $300 billion,” according to the report.
Emerging Asian economies, along with population growth and rapid urbanisation, created an unprecedented need for speed in construction. Asia has developed accelerated prefabrication systems to keep up with infrastructural demand. Australia may be pushed towards more cost-effective developmental solutions, such as the cheap import of prefabricated buildings and infrastructure components from Asia.
McKinsey Global Institute found in their 2016 report, Bridging Global Infrastructure Gaps, that ‘China spends more on economic infrastructure annually than North America and Western Europe combined.’ Construction estimating software has a primary goal of speeding up the early stages of development. Infrastructure in Australia benefits immensely from software adoption, such as construction estimating software.
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