Major Problems Facing the Construction Industry

The construction sector in the United States has experienced various problems that jeopardize its growth and long-term viability. This study will conduct an audit of the construction industry in the United States and examine its flaws. It will also provide potential recommendations on the most effective techniques that construction companies and other interested parties may use to develop a successful and sustainable construction industry.

The building industry is crucial in promoting a country's development agenda. In the United States, the industry has experienced rapid growth, and the future appears bright. It is estimated that by 2050, two out of three people will be living in the city (Sullivan par. 4). The industry is one of the few that show prospects of growth even in difficult economic times. However, like any other industry, the construction industry is not immune to a number of challenges facing the economy. In this regard, construction companies are facing serious questions of viability and sustainability.

Having stated that, construction managers ought to develop a team of reliable construction workers. This is a going to come in handy in projection completion. Again, projects should completed within the allocated budget and in time. Through this, the construction firms are able to establish a good reputation and be in a position to win contracts in the future. In cases where projects are not completed on time, it is not uncommon to find the firm in question facing a lawsuit.

One of the greatest problems facing the construction industry is the shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry. Other problems that the construction industry faces include the challenges associated with technology, the high cost of insurance, sustainability, government regulations, and project complexity.

Shortage of skilled labor

There are several characteristics that define the construction labor market. Some of these characteristics have made some potential employees shy away from the industry. They act as barriers that individuals face when penetrating the construction labor market. This further multiplies the challenges facing the industry.

A construction worker needs to have stamina and physical strength. This is because the day to day work involves a number of physical activities such as. It may also require working during harsh weather. The lure of working in the office makes a significant number of people not consider working in the construction industry.

One must be able and willing to handle various tools and machines. In addition to that, the construction processes require reading and understanding a manual (Yenilmez and Esin 266). Not only does this require good mathematical skills, but also good mathematical and analytical skills.

Thus, the construction field is not for the faint hearted. It requires a strong input both physically and mentally. Furthermore, it may require adopting safety measures when one is working in dangerous or accident-prone environments. In connected to this, construction workers have expressed their dissatisfaction about the stereotypes that they face. For example, the perception about the construction workers is that the majority of them did not complete their high school education.

The National Association of Home Builders estimates that there are 200, 000 unfilled positions in the construction industry (Sullivan par. 4). It blames this to the housing bust which motivated the construction professionals to seek alternative employment. For example, Nevada was hard-hit by the housing bust. The rate of unemployment at that time pushed the workers to seek other opportunities. Some went back to study other courses and others left the state. Enticing them to retrace their footsteps back to the construction opportunities in Nevada has been an uphill task.

The Home Builders Institute, which trains construction workers, states that as the demand for construction workers gets higher, the labor shortage gets worse. This has a two-fold impact. One of them is that the construction managers are lagging behind their deadlines. The other one is that the shortage of labor translates to a higher cost of labor, which in turn translates to a higher cost to the consumer at the end of the construction value chain.

The Associated General Contractors of America has stated that there are some states which have recorded significant labor shortage (Sullivan par. 4). These include Missouri, Georgia, California, and Arizona. A study carried out by the organization found that Colorado will need at least 30, 000 extra workers in the coming six years if it will have to meet its demand.

Gender Perspectives

The National Law Center states that only 2.6 per cent of the professionals in the construction industry are women (Gruber 250). This is the same percentage that was recorded back in 1983, meaning the industry has not recorded growth in the number of professionals that are willing to work in the industry. The phenomenon of stagnant growth of the number of construction employees has been observed in many states in the US.

Gender Perspectives

In the spring of 1975, a group of women in the construction industry had a meeting to deliberate on their role and position in the male-dominated construction industry. They voiced their discontent to the Department of Labor about a numbered of issues that needed urgent redress (Gruber 251). For instance, the women complained about being isolated and alienated from their fellow employees. This was precipitated by hostile men who would make sexual allusion and sexual jokes on them. In addition to that, they stated that their performance was open to more scrutiny than it applied to their male counterparts.

The implication of this gender dynamics is that it serves as deterrence to the possibility of the women penetrating the construction labor market. This further multiplies the problems that the problems facing the construction industry. It drives away the much needed workers that would come in handy to address the labor shortage.

Whereas the issues of sexual harassment are not peculiar to the construction industry, key players in the construction industry ought to rethink their policies towards the females (Finkel, 51). For example, each construction company should have a clear policy regarding discrimination. This will ensure that more women penetrate the construction labor market and ease the shortage of labor therein.

Construction and Technology

The use of various communication platforms as well as the software is indispensable in the modern construction environment. For example, in the traditional methods of construction, it was not uncommon to identify a major problem at the end of the project. This leads to a waste of time and resources. However, with the modern technology, it is possible to identify a problem before the project begins. In addition to that, some types of technology, cloud technology for instance, allow data analysis in real time. They also allow better accuracy and better ability to handle data, more so when dealing with big data.

However, the adoption of technology comes with challenges too. The major one is that technology requires being updated regularly. It is not uncommon to find a company investing in a heavy technology, only for such a technology to be declared obsolete in a few years time. This can lead to a waste of time and resources and can disillusion the company.

The modern work environment is recording a trend of going paperless. However, in such a case, it is very easy for sensitive data and information to be compromised. The internet is vulnerable to various factors such as hacking and malware. A company can face a nightmare if its data is compromised. It should be noted that an ideal company guarantees the privacy of the data of its clients.

The use of technology requires a significant investment in both time and resources. For example, point solutions require significant investment and can take time before it gains its footing in the company. Furthermore, some companies have got unique and specific needs and the technology platform needs to be tailored to these unique needs, and this takes time, skills, and resources. Whereas some software platforms are easy to configure, construction companies find themselves sidelined by the same technology due to the problem of rigidity.

The construction industry should neither discount technology not treat it as an afterthought (Ghafoori 6). Instead, companies should think about technology from the onset. However, technology can sometimes go wrong. Bunni gives a scenario where the society applies double standards when it comes to technology (17). The society expects one the contractor to amply appropriate technology in order to capture the best in aesthetics, quality, design, and durability. When the "appropriate technology" fails, the blame games starts, and the society says that the company should have applied more appropriate technology.


The construction industry has an insatiable desire for raw materials. This has brought a dilemma in the construction industry and in the public. On one hand, there is a need to extract and use large quantities of raw materials in order to drive the economy through construction. On the other hand, there is a need to have controlled extraction and use of raw materials in order to maintain a green environment and avoid the degradation of the environment. The fact is that the construction work continues to threaten the earth and its resources. For example, the issue of derelict mines has continued to contribute to the degradation of the environment.

High Cost of Insurance

The construction industry is a sensitive industry in that it has to adopt concrete safety measures for the home owner, the construction workers, and the public. On their part, the insurance companies struggle with the challenges of extreme weather as well as climate change. Consequently, the insurance companies are tempted to pass the cost of these risk factors to the construction companies thereby increasing the cost of insurance.

The dilemma in the construction industry is that when things happen to go wrong, it is the contractor who is answerable. Errors and omissions usually occur in the field and the expectation is that the worker will be compensated. Take for example, faulty wiring, it can cause a devastating effect to the workers and third parties and can lead to massive loss of lives and property.

Insuring all the possible risks is not a cheap initiative. Construction projects must guard against floods, fire, and wind among other risks. The problem comes in that the construction professionals have to identify the most likely factors of risks. Unfortunately, accidents originate from anywhere including from the least likely factors. Taking from the earlier example about the hurricane, there is little possibility of any hurricane, but they do occur all the same.

Government Regulation

The construction industry is a highly regulated industry. This is applicable to all the levels of the government: county, state, and federal. The building codes are as a result of deliberate and democratic processes which seek the improvement of the housing sector. They are concerned with environmental protection, public health, and safety. They are also aimed at ensuring the same not just now, but in the years to come during the lifespan of the building.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the government renewed its efforts to ensure that the construction industry makes improvements in order to minimize the effects of such disasters. Similarly, the rise of terrorism has brought in other challenges when it comes to the safety of the buildings.

Whereas the government is well-intentioned in protecting the public, these policies directly affect the output of the construction industry. Any firm that wants to establish and retain a solid reputation must be willing to follow the government regulations. After all, this is a major criterion when it comes to passing the inspection tests as well as future renewal of licenses.

The greatest challenge with this is that the regulations are not static but fluid. The authorities do not condone ignorance of the regulations even in cases of the most recent ones.

Project Complexity

The modern construction is complex in nature. It involves the use of multiple actors and complicated designs. Sometimes, some designs are experimental in nature in order to predict their impact in the market. In such scenario, the construction firms are faced with the delicate act of balancing between accepting projects that they are sure that can deliver and on time, and declining the projects that are complex in nature.

The Way Forward

There are several strategies that construction workers can employ in order to sufficiently address the problem of shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry in the US. To start with, it is paramount that the construction company prepares an adequate compensation package and benefits to the staff. This is going to ensure that the company retains its employees. It is far much cheaper to retain the existing employees than having a high turnover. According to Neu, it is advisable to make sure that employees who are performing well are rewarded (147). It is not always prudent to hire an employee who is performing poorly. On the contrary, identifying the weaknesses of the employee followed by the right prescription could be of great benefit in improving the productivity of the employee. In particular, training such an employee could offer the company avoid the expensive, time-consuming, and tedious process of hiring another employee.

The construction firm should adopt an aggressive advertising policy. If possible, accompanying this with a free training program can help potential candidates understand the benefits of working in the construction industry. The construction company can encourage the public to exploit the opportunity that they can get free training, guaranteed jobs, and that they can still earn a high income without incurring the financial constraints that come with the student debt.

The education system is biased towards preparing the students to join colleges. However, the opportunity and need of joining vocational college is largely ignored. The government, schools, and the private sector should encourage some high school students who can fit in the construction industry to join it. The justification is that there is a high demand for skills, there is a ready market, and a high potential for growth.

Concerning sustainability, the construction industry should take a radical departure from using products which are not friendly to the environment. As far as possible, it should use green products. In addition to that, construction firms should use the most advanced and effective methods of recycling in order to preserve the environment. Commitment to the agreements on carbon emissions will play a significant role in ensuring that there is a balance between development and sustainability.

The philosophy of environmental conversation and sustainable development borrows its principles from the interaction between economics and the environment. This is because there is a strong inter-dependence between the environment and the economy (Langston 14). By extension, the way the environment is managed affects the opportunities of the future generation.

Prior to investing in any technology, a construction company should seek professional opinion about the dynamics of the technology in question. Moreover, joining a group such as LinkedIn is going to facilitate sharing of knowledge and experience with like-minded people. In addition to that, the company should ensure that it has sufficient staff to operate the technology.

If a company has chosen digital record, the most prudent thing to do is to have a well-developed back-up system. Such data should only be accessed by authorized person. There should be a well developed data access identification method in order to know which member of staff accessed which information or when. In case of a breach, then the company knows who is responsible.

The high cost of insurance can be lowered by laying concrete safety measures prior to starting the project. Insurance companies are friendly to clients who are careful to prevent accidents before they occur. In some cases, the insurance company cannot compensate a construction firm if it had ignored some of its recommendations.

Much as it is critical to have a comprehensive insurance cover, it is not rational to pay an excess pay for it. In addition to that, a company can get a lower rate through combining various strategies such as combination of coverage, not waiting until the agreement lapses in order to make a renewal, and making a review of the project in order to identify changes that may be used in order to save money.

A construction firm should make a deliberate attempt to understand the changes that affect the industry. For example, signing up for the field newsletters is a good source of genuine information. It is important to set aside a few minutes each day in order to be updated about the latest construction dynamics facing the industry.

Concerning project complexity, a construction firm should not bid or accept a project that is complex is beyond its scope. Not many companies are able to finish projects, and in time for that matter. It is far much better if a company declines a project that it feels it cannot offer optimal performance.


The US construction industry offers vibrant opportunities. However, it has quite a number of challenges too. Professionals intending to penetrate the industry ought to make an audit of their respective construction niche. Consequently, they should identify the challenges therein and adopt the relevant recommendation. Overall, the prospects in the construction industry are real and promising if the challenges are diagnosed and the appropriate remedy prescribed.

Works Cited

Bunni, Nael. Risk and Insurance in Construction. London: Rutledge, 2003. Print.

Finkel, Gerald. The Economics of the Construction Industry. London: Rutledge, 2008. Print.

Gruber, James E. In the Company of Men: Male Dominance and Sexual Harassment. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press, 2005. Print.

Ghafoori, Nader. Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions in Structural Engineering and Construction. Boca Raton: CRS Press, 2009. Print.

Langston, Craig. Sustainable Practices in the Built Environment. London: Rutledge, 2008. Print.

Neu, Fred H. Cutting Costs: Successful Strategies for Improving Productivity. New York

; Barnes & Nobles, 2013. Print.

Sullivan, Justin. "What's Holding Back the Housing Market? Not Enough Construction Workers." Accessed 03 March 2017.

Yenilmez, Fusun, and Esin Kilic. Handbook of Research on Unemployment and Labor Market Sustainability in the Era of Globalization, Hershey: IGI Global, 2017. Print.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price