A global construction boom is in full swing for 2018, and the Caribbean is not being left behind.
JCB UK announced this month that it was hiring 600 production line staff and 100 permanent employees in other positions, including engineering, at its headquarters and across the UK, to satisfy the global demand for its machines.
Worldwide growth in construction has seen this machine giant, which employs 6,000 people in the UK alone, increase its payroll due to its very healthy order book. It is hiring 200 operatives immediately, with a further 400 staff required within 12 weeks.
JCB chief operating officer, Mark Turner said: “The future is very bright for JCB as global demand for our machines continues to grow, which means great prospects for people who want to work with us.”
The US Labour Department reports that the construction industry added 30,000 jobs in December 2017, which brought the sector to 210,000 positions that year—a 35 percent increase over 2016. Further details published by the Commerce Department showed that spending was up to a record US$1.257 trillion in November.
In Australia, there is also a high level of construction activity, with US$4.8 billion worth of projects now underway. This is an unprecedented level of activity and is only expected to get busier with a further US$3.1 billion in approved works yet to commence, that are scheduled for completion by 2025.
Construction in Cambodia increased to US$6.4 billion in 2017, which was more than 22 percent over the previous year, according to official figures released at the beginning of 2018.
Regionally, the hotel boom in the Dominican Republic continued in 2017, with 12 new resorts opening. According to new data from the government, hotel room stock increased by 8,360, bringing the country’s total hotel stock to 82,000. Another 13,000 new rooms are under construction, according to President Danilo Medina, while another 3,600 are under renovation.
On the heels of the five-star luxury Park Hyatt St Kitts – the first Park Hyatt hotel in the Caribbean – opening its doors on the southeast peninsula of St Kitts and Nevis in February, Prime Minister of the twin-island federation, Dr Timothy Harris said robust construction activity would help drive the island’s economy in 2018.
The Koi Resort & Residences and the Ramada will all cue up this year for a grand opening. Ritz-Carlton is also in the pipelines and is expected to create 300 jobs when construction starts. That 125-suite luxury resort will have 25 branded villas and residences and will be located on St Kitts’ stunning southeast peninsula, facing the Caribbean Sea.
This boom in development will translate into plenty of jobs, higher earning potential and money circulating throughout the economy.
Over in Antigua and Barbuda, road construction and road rehabilitation have been prioritised. Eighteen miles of road along six major highways and roadways in Antigua will be redesigned and constructed at a cost of US$66 million. The newly designed roads are expected to be resilient to adverse weather and climate change, authorities say. In addition to improving the main highways, the government has also embarked on a community roads project.
Addressing a recent oil and gas forum, Guyana’s Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, said the country’s projected massive cash injection from oil production is expected to have a multiplier effect on the economy that will fuel a construction boom and trigger growth in a number of other sectors. The government has already signalled that infrastructural development in the areas of transportation, energy and communication will be prioritised to attract more investments in key economic sectors.
Challenges in the Construction Industry
The growth of construction worldwide is not without its challenges, which include labour shortages that have been prevalent since after the recession.
A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates the global construction market will grow to US$15.5 trillion by 2030, which reflects an 85 percent increase in the construction sector worldwide. China and India are poised as frontrunners in this construction boom, as is the United States, which suffered the loss of two million construction jobs when the housing market collapsed and the global financial crisis of 2008 hit. Since then, more than one million construction jobs have returned to the US, but labour shortages are a major issue for the industry.
Running out of Workers in Construction
Teletrac Navman this month conducted a telematics benchmark survey which provided insight into telematics trends affecting the global construction market. Fifty-five percent of respondents from construction companies and the mining, oil and gas industries pointed to payroll as their largest business expense.
“Fluctuations in the labour force can create challenges to maintain a steady payroll system. However, a closer look reveals that labour shortages are created by the consequence of a series of issues, those being education, policy, demographic and economic factors that have reduced the education pipeline for training new construction workers,” reported the Associated General Contractors of America.
When the recession hit and construction jobs disappeared, many construction workers either left the profession to pursue other careers or further their education. The foreign workers returned home, economic circumstances improved and immigration policies tightened.
How Companies are Combating the Labour Shortage
Ninety percent of construction companies globally plan to invest in their businesses by upgrading fleets and recruiting, retaining and training talent. Fifty-three percent are increasing pay; 36 percent are developing educational and training programmes; and 33 percent are offering better benefits to gain attention and increase their workforce.
A Young Workforce
Millennials now make up more than half the workforce. Job seekers are looking for more than an opening for a position; they are looking for technology, safety, training and a strong company culture, among other things, to feel passionate about the organisation they represent. This does not come cheap for companies. Consistent with survey findings, respondents said managing costs was their top business challenge in 2017.
Global Construction Waste Will Double By 2025
We cannot talk construction without considering construction waste.
The volume of construction waste generated worldwide every year, according to a report from Transparency Market Research, will nearly double to 2.2. billion tons by 2025.
Construction waste includes materials from excavation, roadwork and demolition, as well as complex waste like plastics, metal, ceramic and cardboard. Building materials make up more than half the construction waste generated annually, including wood, shingles, asphalt, concrete and gypsum.
Europe has developed the best construction waste management technologies.
‘Reduce, reuse and recycle’ policies are necessary to control the amount of construction waste, but insufficient resources, lack of standardisation, slim profit margins, policy apathy and lack of education about the issues are keeping that from happening.
What the Global Construction Boom means for the Caribbean Construction Industry
The Global Construction Boom, which in most cases is being experienced by countries that have come out of recession, will impact on the region’s economic performance. The region tends to mirror macroeconomic conditions within the advanced economies such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and also emerging economies such as Brazil and China given the close proximity and strong linkages between these countries. The region, as a whole, will see greater investor confidence which will stimulate or further stimulate the regional construction industry.