Ontario’s construction industry activity to remain strong in 2018

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A new Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)  survey shows that the Ontario’s construction sector will continue to see a strong activity in 2018.

The 2018 Contractor Survey, which is part of the 18th Annual State of the Industry and Outlook Conference  at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, reveals that 32 per cent  of respondents forecast they will be busier in 2018 than they were last year. More than half of contractors expect to conduct the same amount of work as they did in 2017.

Though the outlook is positive, contractors entered 2018 with slightly less optimism than they had at this time last year.

According to detailed regional data from the survey, more than a third of the contractors in each of four regions in the province forecast an increase in business in 2018. In both the southwest and eastern regions of the province, 34 per cent of contractors are optimistic of added business with Central Ontario (33%) and the GTA (32%) right behind.

The only region to show a decline in business confidence for 2018 is Northern Ontario, where 22 per centexpect more business in 2018 and almost a quarter are forecasting less work.

Sector analysis reveals the engineering sector is the most optimistic with 47% of contractors in the sector predicting increased activity. The institutional and high-rise residential sectors share in the optimism with 39 per cent of contractors in each of the sectors expecting increased activity. Ontario’s commercial and industrial sectors are less optimistic with 35 per cent and 27 per cent respectively expecting increased activity.

Meanwhile, the survey also sheds light on anticipated challenges over the next three years. Not surprisingly, labour market issues topped the list with recruitment of skilled workers and an aging workforce amongst contractors’ concerns.

Narrowing in on contractors’ perceptions of new technologies in the construction industry, the survey reveals that almost three-quarters of contractors believe that new technology is important to the future of their business. One survey respondent commented that “technology can help us improve every aspect of our company,” while another said “if we don’t adopt new technologies, customers won’t be interested in hiring us”.

The survey identifies which technologies have a high and low potential for adoption and impact for the construction industry. The top three technologies identified by contractors as having both a high likelihood of adoption and high impact on their business are: jobsite data collection, advanced building materials, and automated technology.

“We are excited that so many contractors are looking at the opportunities presented by new technologies and starting to adopt them in their construction process”, Katherine Jacobs, the OCS’s director of research, said in a statement. “We hear a lot about 3D printing and drones in the media, but it seems the new tools providing high value to contractors are those with more immediate application.”

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