Canadian Construction Trends for 2023

Recently, On-Site Magazine, a Canadian construction publication, detailed the top trends that are expected in 2023. Ongoing pain points such as economic uncertainty and labour shortages are expected to continue but new initiatives and a technology evolution also are seen as growing trends for general contractors during the 2023 construction year. Below are key highlights on what is expected to see within the Canadian construction market this year.

General contractors express uncertainty on economic impact in 2023

The case for investing in infrastructure makes economic and social sense. There are new highway and light rail developments, climate resilience retrofits and vital maintenance projects underway as part of the nation’s growth plan. Risk can fluctuate in every construction project, but private investors are especially vulnerable in today’s market of escalating prices, supply chain disruptions, rising interest rates on loans and challenges securing workers.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) jumped at the opportunity to provide the federal government a national vision for infrastructure resilience, recommending a strategy that would identify needs and priorities based on independent expert advice.

The 2022 Federal Budget made some modest investments to improve supply chain infrastructure and support the existing National Trade Corridors Fund, demonstrating positive progress for federal investment.

The industry has recommended a path forward, identifying and investing in Canada’s key trade gateways and corridors across the country that will link resources to industry, people to jobs and products to market. It’s time to show that Canada can deliver the goods through a strategic trade infrastructure program.

Creative Ways Are Being Seen to Combat Labour Shortage

It’s no secret that Canada is facing its most severe labour shortage in over 50 years. The situation is especially acute for the construction sector and its 81,000 open (yet unfilled) jobs. Retirements and recruitment challenges will be a heavy blow to Canada’s future economic growth if steps aren’t taken to rebuild Canada’s workforce now.

After years of relegating skilled trades to a career of last resort, governments and educational institutions are now reinvested in promoting these careers.

The projected demand for skilled workers is far outweighing the number of people who are choosing to pursue a career in the trades. A report by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum found that 75,000 new apprentices will need to be hired per year over the next five years to meet the demand for skilled journey-persons in Red Seal trades.

Smart investments are now being made to support businesses in offering apprenticeship training to Canadians from all backgrounds. The Canadian Apprenticeship Service is one such program that CCA is promoting, and it offers financial incentives to small and medium-sized employers who hire and train new first-year apprentices in 39 Red Seal trades. Schools and local businesses are also doing a better job at exposing youth to potential career paths.

This new appreciation for skilled trades combined with an infusion of new Canadians will help propel diversity and inclusivity moving forward, with greater representation from women, new Canadians, Indigenous and other equity-seeking groups.

Increase in Green Projects Expected to Offset Challenges in Project Planning

Today’s financial climate and supply chain issues are forcing developers to rethink their project plans. Rising interest rates, taxes and debt financing are particular concerns, delaying or slowing down projects. Availability of bonding and insurance may also tighten.

Contractors will continue to face unpredictability in supply availability and costing. The war in Ukraine, the “Buy U.S.” initiative, massive infrastructure investment south of the border and the potential for disruptions from climate-related events all stand to impact the supply chain. It will be important to influence and monitor policies to secure a more resilient and green supply chain.

Over 120 countries, including Canada, are setting targets to limit emissions and decarbonize economies. With buildings representing almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention the environmental impact of heavy industry, Canada’s Green Building Strategy is looking to the Canadian construction sector to make a real impact on annual carbon dioxide emissions.

This is perhaps a once in a generation opportunity to make a quantum leap in building green. Developing a buy clean policy, incentivizing businesses, mandating change through building code amendments and deliberately including climate resilience in the project scope at the tender process should be considered. Education and training are also critical pieces of the puzzle, including access to better data, technologies, tools and standards as well as supporting workforce training programs geared towards low-carbon construction.

Automation is Becoming Essential to Improve Efficiencies

As self-checkouts replace traditional cashiers in grocery stores and pharmacies as a response to a lack of workforce, the construction industry will also be turning its attention to increased use of technology. With 81,000 job openings, and despite significant effort to recruit and retain a workforce, the business case for automation is strengthening.

Some companies are looking at robotics and new technologies, like exoskeletons and drones, as tools to increase productivity, growth and safety. As more technology is adopted in the industry, new types of jobs will be added within the sector – attracting new talent that wish to use cutting-edge technologies in the industry.

The value of involving contractors earlier in the project is gaining steam. Owners are recognizing that early engagement and collaboration can produce a more informed project plan, resulting in better pricing for risk and potentially identifying more efficient and effective ways of delivering projects.

Too often contractors take on the majority risk of project costs and delays due to the shortage of workers, materials and supply chain disruptions.

How GCPay can set you apart from the competition

GCPay was created 20 years ago with the goal of increasing productivity and efficiency through custom technology as it relates to payments made between general contractors and their subs. Software automation tools can help assist when headcount becomes a challenge, and processes become important to maintain a strong bottom line. GCPay is a SaaS-based platform designed for general contractors that makes it easy to control what’s required from the subcontractor before they submit a progress claim. GCPay provides management around subcontractor contracts, change orders, and compliance/stat dec documentation results in reduced errors and time savings. All of which can help a general contractor get projects completed faster.

GCPay’s built-in automation lets general contractors customize workflows that make sense for their companies. We manage routing of pay app approvals, collection of stat decs and compliance documents—to get your subcontractor paid faster and on time.

GCPay knows that every general contractor has their own processes and workflows that work for them. GCPay gives them the flexibility to get granular so we can meet their needs.

  1. Eliminate subcontractor calculation mistakes by allowing GCPay to catch calculation errors before they ever happen
  2. Automate email reminders to your subcontractors
  3. Ensure subcontractors submit their progress claims on time

Save time on data entry with ERP integrations that reduce data entry, import jobs and change orders by directly syncing to your ERP. Simply adding an extension to a current ERP is a great way simplify a GC’s tech stack while expanding its impact on a company’s bottom line.

Simply put, with GCPay, a general contractor can increase the number of jobs they can take on without increasing accounting staff.

To learn more about GCPay benefits or to schedule a demo, click here.

Download and view the entire On-Site article here Top 10 Canadian construction trends to watch in 2023 – On-Site Magazine


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