Understanding the Nuances of the Construction Industry

June 14, 2024

It's easy to see a surface-level problem in construction and assume you have the right solution. However, it takes an in-depth knowledge of the industry's nuances to develop practical solutions that actually work. With so many variables and challenges to keep track of, many "tourists" to the construction sector struggle to keep up.

The best construction software solutions are built by people who know construction. Like with any problem on the job, you must take the time to understand all available options when making your decisions.

Construction Is Simple on the Surface but Complex Underneath

Nearly everyone you ask may have a different perspective on the construction industry. Many people passively follow the industry's biggest headlines, such as labor and lumber shortages. However, they rarely follow these stories long-term and may miss the industry's solutions. Others may base their construction knowledge on limited personal experiences, such as when their bathroom was redone in 2016.

However, like every industry, the construction sector is rapidly changing with new faces, practices, and challenges. This can make many construction issues difficult to understand, especially from an outside perspective. For example, although the sector is witnessing record-high employment numbers, many contractors still experience workforce shortages.

As any builder will tell you, a minor issue often indicates a more prominent problem. For instance, cracks in a bridge's foundation could indicate water damage, defective materials, or inadequate soil conditions. Meanwhile, a supplier delay could foreshadow a larger supply issue that can impact your project again. So, construction projects require a detail-focused approach to maintain safety, accountability, and profits.

The Rise of Construction Software Solutions

Software for the construction sector has redefined many of the most challenging processes, including inventory and subcontractor feedback. These tools and apps let each department quickly access everything necessary for their project. Plus, teams can save time overall by keeping their files in one digital interface with analytics, automation, and real-time updates. Some solutions even let construction teams digitally visualize their project designs.

Unfortunately, the recent surge in construction software has led to a mixed assortment of products. The vast majority of these tools are developed by "tourists" to the construction industry. This means that while these companies and developers understand software, they typically don't have actual experience in construction. As a result, many of their apps lack industry-specific specializations.

The best construction software solutions are built by people who know construction. They refine the tools based on the most common challenges, delays, and questions they've seen as construction professionals. As a result, their solutions save time and enhance transparency and accountability across the board.

3 Misunderstood Nuances of the Construction Industry

Knowing the industry is the only way to build solutions for it. Even so, there are many construction nuances that experienced employees still don't understand. If your project has too much noise, slow down and pay attention to the following direct challenges you're facing.

1. Skills Gaps

One of the construction industry's greatest misconceptions is that it only comprises "blue-collar" and "low-skill" workers. However, most general contractors feature various departments, including business development, compliance, and finance, which require many different backgrounds. Plus, operations teams must often receive certifications for particular practices and machinery. Suffice it to say that construction is a demanding industry.

General contractors often struggle to find employees and subcontractors that meet their job qualifications. Even if a candidate has years of experience, a project may call for a specific certification or training that not everyone has. Fortunately, software such as Trestle Benchmark makes it easier to manage subcontractors' qualifications and reviews. This way, you can quickly find the best possible professionals for your projects.

2. Manpower Shortages

Recruitment remains one of the sector's greatest challenges, especially amid retirements. Nevertheless, the job market for general construction employees is gradually improving. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry reached over 8.2 million employees in March 2024 — the most employees the sector has ever seen. This number of construction workers has steadily increased since 2011 — with a brief hiccup in 2020, of course.

Sadly, this increase in employees doesn't mean the manpower shortage is over. The high demand for construction projects still leaves many general contractors struggling to recruit the workforce they actually need.

Understanding this nuance is critical for your recruitment and pre-qualification processes. For example, a lack of applicants could be the result of the struggling job market or a factor you can actually control, such as wages. You won't know unless you pay attention to the market changes.

3. Increased Reliance on Modular Construction

Many projects now call for modular and prefabrication construction strategies, in which most of the structure is built off-site. This approach can improve construction quality since components can be designed in controlled settings. Additionally, teams can save time and resources by not sending the entire crew to the building site. This type of construction is especially beneficial for apartments, schools, healthcare buildings, and projects with tight deadlines.

While many construction professionals are aware of prefabricated solutions, many underestimate how quickly it's taking over the sector. The modular construction market is worth over $104 billion in 2024 and expected to grow by another $36 billion in the next five years. So, more contractor teams should consider these solutions moving forward to at least get acquainted with their processes.

Construction Software Built by People Who Know Construction

There are a lot of tourist entrepreneurs who don't understand the space. They see that construction is simple on the surface, but don't understand the nuances and complexities underneath. As a result, their solutions may only scrape the surface of what construction technology can actually achieve.

The best construction software solutions are built by people who know construction, and Trestle Benchmark is no exception. Trestle is built by people who have worked in the industry at the highest level. With performance management and data-driven solutions, it can help you manage your most complex projects and contracts. Schedule a demo to see how Trestle Benchmark can help you.

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