Female and male superintendents overseeing commercial construction project

Top 7 Trends and Challenges in Commercial Construction in 2022

Commercial construction is an integral part of the American economy. According to IBISWorld, it is a $230 Billion industry, the 51st largest by market size. The entire construction industry employs more than 750,000 workers.

But it’s not always smooth sailing as commercial construction market dynamics keep changing, so you must keep your finger on the pulse of the industry to stay afloat. Here are trends and challenges to look out for in 2022.

futuristic data center illuminated at night

Hot Commercial Construction Trends for 2022

1. Data centers

Almost every business in existence today uses the internet in some way. The pandemic sparked the shift towards working at home, and internet use spiked by 10.2% during the pandemic, necessitating more data centers.

Furthermore, contractors expect the demand to grow by 5.95% between 2022 and 2027. The data from your digital applications need to be stored somewhere, hence the need for data centers. There are other reasons why data centers are essential:

  • It makes communication easier.
  • You can access your data, whatever your location or time zone.
  • Helps with resource planning.

Commercial builders and consultants have had to compress the time for planning and setting up data center projects to less than two years.

2. Warehouses

Another in-demand commodity currently is warehouses, fueled by the explosion of the e-commerce industry. E-commerce companies such as amazon have over 100 warehouses in the U.S. alone.

Warehouses make it convenient to rapidly store goods and distribute them to their customers. When constructing a warehouse, you should consider:

  • Energy consumption: Warehouses use a significant amount of energy, so utilize sustainable options such as solar power to minimize operational costs.
  • Space: The space should have at least 400 feet of free space.
  • The building materials: Its foundation is typically made up of steel to sustain heavy loads. A warehouse should also have adequate lighting, so use transparent material in certain sections of its rooftop.

3. Green technology

According to the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA), commercial buildings contribute 18% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. alone. The government passed a policy for contractors to adopt green technology when constructing commercial buildings.

In construction, green technology means setting up buildings with little to no adverse effects on the environment. The goal of such structures is usually to protect the environment’s natural resources. Further, minimize waste by using recyclable and reusable products. 

Some technologies used in green buildings include:

  • Solar electricity
  • Radiant floors
  • Geothermal systems

4. Need for labor

Thanks to the great resignation, another growing trend is the need for more construction workers. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, some of the workforce concerns during this time include:

  • 50% of contractors reported that most of their workers had inadequate skills
  • 55% of employers said that they are finding it difficult to get workers
  • 93% reported that issues with finding work would not change during the pandemic

In 2022, many construction companies are looking for workers as they try to return to normalcy. With the high demand for commercial buildings, the need for workers isn’t going away anytime soon.

7 by 5 grid of stacked shipping containers

Challenges Faced in the Industry

The industry has grown substantially in the past few years, but it is not immune to these challenges:

a) Supply chain issues

A common issue in commercial construction is supply chain delay. The main goal of the supply chain is to create a network that will necessitate the transfer of goods and services from a producer to a consumer.

However, there are numerous supply chain disruptions and raw material shortages. Manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies are still reeling from COVID-19 flare-ups, causing delays and increasing costs.

b) Backorder

A backorder is an item that a customer orders but is not in stock. You can experience a backorder for several reasons.

But it occurs primarily due to the high demand for construction services and supply chain delays. Although a backorder helps retain a customer, having several can lead to the eventual loss of customers.

c) Unavailable building materials

There is a massive shortage of building materials in the industry. According to Statista, many contractors reported a lack of wood and steel in 2020 and 2021, where the 2021 stats show:

  • 27% of contractors complained of a shortage in steel
  • 19% of them lacked roofing materials
  • 17% reported a deficit in wood/lumber

You can either order supplies early or consider substitute materials to avoid this.

commercial construction site cranes with sunset background

Final Word – Current Trends in Commercial Construction

The industry has been unstable recently, primarily because of the pandemic, leading to new trends in 2022. For instance, there is a high demand for data center construction and warehouses. We have also seen an increasing need for more construction workers. But it has not been without challenges, mainly caused by supply chain delays and disruptions. Generally speaking, we can anticipate the increased demand for commercial construction to continue in 2022.

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