by George Hedley

In the next 10 years, things will not be what you expect!

Construction hasn't really changed much in the last 50 years, or has it? Only a few years ago, a handshake, a builder's set of blueprints, a yellow pad, a pencil, a calculator, a tape measure and a pickup truck was all contractors needed. Today, everyone uses fax machines, computers, email, cell phones, cad and websites. Now we have labor shortages and design-build is as common as the old 'handshake' way of doing business. As a famous person once said: "The future ain't what it used to be!".

The construction industry today is in a challenging position:

1. Productivity has declined 20% in the last 20 years

2. The average construction worker only works 4.8 hours per day

3. Most contractors spend little or no money on training

4. The construction labor shortage is a nationwide problem

5. Customers now expect low cost and fast schedules with impeccable quality

6. Competition is more intense and tougher than ever

7. Profit margins are at an all time low

8. Traditional suppliers and wholesalers are disappearing

9. Major manufacturers are bypassing subcontractors and selling direct to builders

10. Contractors and subcontractors are not keeping up with technology

If you're in the same place today as a year ago, you're worse!

Today, if you aren't constantly improving, updating and trying new ideas, you can't keep up with your competition or your customers. Change is fast and continuous. New technology changes every month. Computer software only lasts 18 months. Training is required on an ongoing basis. New equipment requires technical skills once reserved only for the specialists. What will be on this list in the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years, construction will be very different!

1. The labor shortage will stabilize at 25%

2. College graduates entering construction will fall 35%

3. Everyone will communicate over the internet

4. Project management will be done on extranet software

5. The field will carry small portable wireless computers

6. 75% of all current wholesale suppliers will be gone

7. One national building code will be universal

8. 75% of all paperwork will be replaced by electronic mail

9. Over 50% of all construction will be performed 'design

10. Blueprints will be replaced by CD

11. All invoicing, payments, contracts and correspondence will be paperless

12. Most construction equipment will be computer operated

13. File cabinets will be eliminated

14. Quantity take-off estimating will be integrated with the plans

15. 50% of materials will be purchased over the internet

16. Robots will do 20% of all construction field work

17. Owners will request contractors to joint venture with them to reduce risk

18. Everyone will have teleconferencing capabilities

19. Projects will take 20% longer to build due to shortages

20. Stress levels will be up 25% & fun down by 25%

I hope you are not waiting for your competitors to leap ahead of you. The winners of tomorrow will be the ones who are the leaders, not the followers. Keep your eyes on the new economy and your values embedded in the past. A balance of both economies will emerge your company as the innovative leader in your market.

George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations.  He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers.  He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months.  His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.