Alpha Software Blog

The Infrastructure Bill and the Construction Labor Shortage

Where are the construction workers?Construction companies cannot find and hire the workers they need

The housing market is booming and construction jobs are open everywhere. Despite unemployment rates rising, construction firms cannot find the younger workers and craft workers they need to fill construction jobs.

The 2020 Construction Outlook Survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) found that 81 percent of construction companies have trouble filling job openings. And 72 percent said they expect labor shortages will be their biggest hurdle this year.

The New Infrastructure Plan Will Make Hiring Craft Workers Even Harder

Construction companies cannot find and hire the workers they need

If you’re in the construction business, one of your worst problems is about to get worse – the skilled labor shortage. President Biden’s proposed $2 billion infrastructure plan will put an even greater strain on the already taxed construction labor market.

Beyond that, the survey found that more than 76 percent of construction firms said they expected to increase their construction workforce in 2021 – and that was before Biden released his infrastructure plan, so those numbers are likely much higher now.

There are serious consequences to the labor shortage, according to the AGC survey, including these:

  • 57 percent of companies say the skilled labor shortage is the biggest challenge to construction worker health and safety
  • 44 percent have seen higher project costs because of it
  • 40 percent say projects are taking longer than expected due to the shortage.
Shovel Construction

Inefficient Systems Require Companies to Find Qualified Skilled Workers

The industry faces a labor shortage, particularly in skilled trades. In part, this is because of how inefficient the industry and its systems still are. As I’ve written before, a survey by PlanGrid and FMI found “35% of construction professionals time is spent (over 14 hours per week) on non-productive activities including looking for project information, conflict resolution and dealing with mistakes and rework.” Unproductive activities like these cost the construction industry more than $177 billion in 2018 alone.

Intelligent Mobile Apps Can Fight the Construction Labor Shortage

Construction AppsUsing intelligent apps can combat the shortage and enable construction companies to get more jobs started and completed. Intelligent construction apps digitize business processes and paper, which enables construction companies to:

  • Increase worker efficiency by reducing the hours spent on each daily activity.
  • Capture the knowledge of more experienced workers in intelligent apps that can guide younger workers.
  • Lower risk by reducing data-entry mistakes and delayed access to critical data.
  • Speed the capture and delivery of critical field data (even without a cell or WIFI signal)
  • Utilize embedded business logic for best practices and workflows
  • Integrate with existing databases and systems of record

Getting the Job Done with the Construction Workers You Already Have

Solving the skilled worker shortage in constructionTo build those intelligent apps, construction companies can turn to Alpha TransForm. Alpha TransForm turns complex paper forms and business processes into offline apps in just hours. It allows enterprise mobile dispatch/data capture/ workflow apps to be built & deployed by business users who cannot code. The software enables power users to meet more complex app requirements, such as bar-code scanning that looks up data saved on the device.

One residential energy inspection company built a mobile app using Alpha TransForm for inspections. With Alpha TransForm, the Company's raters/inspectors have increased inspection throughput, improved data accuracy, and made the data available to the company’s systems immediately. The mobile construction app saved more than 40 man-hours per week doing home energy inspections (read the case study).

See how easily you could build mobile apps, ditch paper forms and do more with fewer workers. Take a 30-day free trial, complete with construction app templates.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.