Construction is one of the oldest and most lucrative industries in the world. Due to the size and scale of a market that encompasses everything from commercial scaffolding to industrial welding, it is constantly changing and evolving in order to adapt to shifting social and economic climates.
There are also a number of technological trends affecting the industry (mostly for the better), with drone mapping and 3D modelling software making it easier than ever before for builders to work to even the most exacting specifications.
That being said, the industry still faces an uphill battle in many regards, particularly regarding skilled labour shortages and (in the UK) uncertainty regarding raw material trade due to Brexit.
The future seems bright though, particularly if you focus on the statistics.
In order to more fully understand the industry and its economic journey, we’ve compiled a few of the most important statistics from the last two years that underline just how far the construction industry has come and where it might be heading in the near future.
- The UK construction sector saw a 77% increase (year on year) in August last year, with job vacancies reaching 93,500 from under 53,000 at the same time a year previously.
- The number of UK construction companies also rose in 2017 with a 6.2% increase compared to the previous year. This marks the highest amount of operational construction firms on record in Great Britain - over 310,000.
- In 2017, construction employment increased by 3.8%, with the majority of the jobs based in the South East and London, as well as the North West.
- Although there was a minor fall in 2016, earnings in the industry saw a notable increase by the end of 2017, reaching an average of £607 per week. This marks construction as second only to the financial and business sectors when it comes to earnings.
- The HS2 project helped drive a 7.4% increase in orders in 2017, with new construction prices also rising to a record high of just under £110,000 million, which is thought to have been driven by private sector growth.
- Industry spending in the US was a staggering $1.23 trillion in 2017, with 77% of that total ($952 billion) focused on the private sector. The same year, construction accounted for around 7% of GDP in the US.
- Global construction costs are expected to rise by 4.3% on average over the next 12 months.
- Whilst numbers are down both locally and globally, 2.3 million people are still killed by construction work-related accidents or illnesses every year. 64% of fatalities that occur on the job are due to falls, electrocution, falling objects and/or being crushed. These accidents are colloquially referred to as the ‘fatal four’.
- Just over half (54%) of construction firms globally have R&D departments, though most of those departments are small, with only 16% operating with more than 5 people. However, 37% are experimenting with drone technology and 11% of contractors now use ‘wearable’ technology.
- Despite improving diversity, only 9% of the US construction workforce is female.
- According to the scaffolding trade association NASC, the number of accidents and injuries was reported at just 89 onsite incidences in 2017, representing an all-time low!
- Only 17 of the injuries sustained were classified as ‘major’ which marks a notable 37% dip from 2016 when there were 27 major injuries and 96 in total.
- 2017 also marked the fifth fatality-free year for NASC.
- When it came to falls from height (which is the greatest potential risk for scaffolders) there was also a 46% reduction from the previous year.
- No members of the public were harmed by scaffolds belonging to NASC members in 2017.