The second quarter 2013 Construction Industry Confidence Index published by Engineering News Record reached the highest score since its inception in 2008. This is certainly good news! This tells us that the industry, overall, is seeing the market the same way. The market continues to build steam and there are more opportunities becoming available. Overall construction spending was up 0.6% over spending in June – much of the gains were found in residential construction. While Austin does not deal with residential construction, its importance to the overall economy cannot be overstated.
Fat times, most likely though, are not ahead. Many clients are thinking of their project costs the same way as when they put projects on hold a few years ago. Competitors are less complacent with strong backlog than they might have been when the market was strong. The lessons of 2008-2011 were hard. The firms that are driven by continuous improvement will survive and succeed over those that are resting on past practices and approaches. Investment in skills and tools is important, as is allowing the time for employees to become proficient at them.
Readers of industry publications are seeing a stream of articles about BIM, Modular Construction, Mobile Apps serving field crews, Sustainability, Lean Construction and many other strategies aimed at making construction more efficient from a financial and environmental perspective. There are significant opportunities for creativity. The challenge is to look for those opportunities at a time when the conventional solution may be easier, faster or less risky.
So, overall, the future for engineering and construction is looking brighter. Technology offers advancements and innovations for those opportunities that merit them. Success will find those firms that can innovate to the level appropriate to the project opportunities at hand.
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