COVID-19 AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

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2020 Construction Industry Trends to Look Out For

2019 was a year that saw incredible growth within the industry, especially here in South Florida. People keep pouring into the region, and construction companies are barely able to keep up with the development of private and public projects designed to facilitate population growth. In order for construction companies to keep up with demand and remain profitable, they’ll need to keep their eyes on the horizon. 

Below, a South FL contractor lawyer with Cotney Construction Law discusses several industry trends to look out for in 2020. As we move into a new decade, these trends may very well influence your company’s success and relevance within the industry. For an industry advocate who will protect your company regardless of what the year brings, turn the team of South FL contractor lawyers from Cotney Construction Law. 

Safety First 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has once again raised its maximum penalty amounts for employers who fail to abide by its regulations and provide workers with a safe work environment. The penalty for a serious, other than serious, and posting requirements violations are now a staggering $13,494 (up from $13,260), and the penalty for a willful or repeated violation is now $134,937 (up from $132,598). Combine this with OSHA’s renewed focus on conducting inspections, and you can be sure that 2020 will be the year that employers take a second look at their safety practices. 

One way for employers to protect their workers and avoid an OSHA investigation is to have their employee handbooks reviewed by an experienced attorney. A Broward contractor attorney can even conduct a walkthrough of their facilities and potential hazards that should be mitigated. 

Related: Prepare for Your Next OSHA Inspection With This Checklist

Send in the Drones 

We continue to see technology make an impact in the industry, with 2019 seeing incredible breakthroughs in exoskeletons, drones, and driverless vehicles. 2020 will be the year that advances like these will start to become commonplace in the industry. A common concern is that technology, especially driverless vehicles, will replace hard-working people by permanently eliminating their positions. However, that likely won’t be the case. 

As we’ve discussed previously, the construction industry is struggling with a labor shortage that is resulting in delays and increased labor costs on project sites across the country. Advances in technology can not only keep workers safe but also help bridge the skilled labor gap. If you’re looking to get an edge on the competition, technology is the way to do it. 

Related: The Role of Technology in Recruiting the Next Generation of Construction Professionals

Infrastructure at the Forefront 

Our nation’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair, having received a grade of D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers. With 2020 being an election year, you can be sure that infrastructure projects will take center stage. Expect wild promises of infrastructure funding and a renewed dedication to our nation’s roads, bridges, and railways. However, all the promises in the world can’t remove the concerns of construction companies taking on massive projects. 

2019 was not a year without tragedy and saw the collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge, as well as injuries and fatalities on the I-4 Ultimate project. In addition to the above-mentioned safety considerations, you can expect 2020 to be a year of increased scrutiny on infrastructure projects, especially from insurance carriers. In addition to reviewing safety practices, you can expect construction companies to review all systems of communication to ensure that the factors that caused these incidents can be identified  and avoided altogether. 

Related: There Are No Excuses for Breaching Safety Practices

A Push for Modular Construction 

Modular construction is not a new concept by any means — This first modular hospital was actually built in 1855 after Florence Nightingale pleaded with the British Government for improved hospital conditions. However, 2020 will be a year in which we see another push for this innovative building technique that involves prefabricated components. 

Related: How Modular Construction Continues to Make a Case for Itself

Like in Florence Nightingale’s time, necessity propels innovation. But instead of poor hospital conditions, Florida residents are dealing with a lack of affordable housing, with the Tampa Bay Times going as far as to state that “Florida is in a housing state of emergency.” Virtually all regions and people of all ages, ethnicities, races, and income levels are dealing with this issue. There are numerous factors that are contributing to our state’s housing crisis, namely, rising labor costs. Modular construction presents a viable solution for addressing Florida’s affordable housing crisis, and you can be sure that construction companies in Florida will be looking to modular construction in 2020 to keep up with demand and provide residents with the housing they need. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Broward contractor attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.