Prefabricated elements top commercial contractors’ productivity catalysts

Ninety percent of contractors surveyed for the USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Q4 2017 Commercial Construction Index do not consider jobsites to be very efficient. Respondents identify labor productivity as the means to achieving jobsite efficiency, a metric they acknowledge can be improved by using more prefabricated building elements.

Productivity and job site operations improvements aside, the Q4 2017 CCI nevertheless reveals strong confidence in commercial construction prospects: 57 percent of contractors surveyed expect to hire in the next six months—accepting concerns about skilled-labor costs and worker skill adequacy—and a large majority report stable 2018 revenue expectations.

“Commercial contractors remain optimistic about the industry outlook, although labor productivity and costs are hindering jobsite efficiency,” says Jennifer Scanlon, chief executive officer of Chicago-based USG. “There is an urgent need for innovations in building materials and workforce development programs.”

“The commercial construction industry is essential to the U.S. economy. It’s great news that the majority of these companies are ready to hire,” adds U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue. “As worker shortages persist across industries, sectors like commercial construction will have to find solutions through new innovations, technology, and training to continue growing and moving the broader economy forward.”

USG + U.S. Chamber CCI research was developed with Dodge Data & Analytics by surveying commercial and institutional contractors. The Index looks at the results of three leading indicators to gauge confidence—backlog levels, new business opportunities and revenue forecasts—generating a composite index on a scale of 0 to 100. The Q4 2017 score was 74, up one point from Q3, representing a consistent sentiment of sector health.