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Expert Insight
Expert Insight: Wall and Ceiling Contractors Prepare for the Future With Investments in Offsite Construction
July 24, 2023
In a recent report highlighting top issues for specialty contractors over the last year, 90% of the companies surveyed reported direct negative impacts from labor shortages and with 33% of their current staff expected to retire over the coming 5 years.
In order to combat these shortages, 43% of large specialty contractors (companies making $200M or more) intend to dramatically increase their investments in Offsite Construction. This trend is expected to propagate across the industry with small and medium sized contractors expected to increase their current levels of Offsite Construction work by 50% over the coming 12 months. 
Offsite Construction boosts construction productivity by simplifying and standardizing designs and pairing this with the efficiencies of factory production and manufacturing. This offers a long term solution to dealing with labor shortages over the coming decade and will likely represent the future of construction.  
In this Expert InsightOffsight sits down with WWCCA (Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association) Vice President, Nick Carrillo, to discuss how his members are leveraging Offsite Construction in their major projects. We discuss what they see as some of the largest challenges they face and how investing in Offsite Construction today can be a major  game changer in overcoming those challenges in the next few years. 
Q: We’ve heard how labor shortages are drastically affecting the construction industry and specifically many of the specialty contractors. In what ways have your members directly been impacted by the shortages? How do they plan to adapt in the next few years? 
Our members have experienced challenges due to labor shortages, including delays in project completion, increased project costs, and difficulties in finding skilled workers. To adapt, they explore various strategies such as direct hiring campaigns implemented by the association, utilizing labor partner training programs to upskill their existing workforce, and adopting technology solutions to streamline processes. Additionally, in cooperation with our labor union partners new partnerships with local schools, trade schools and vocational programs are being made, they are focusing on improving recruitment efforts and promoting the construction industry as an attractive career option to attract new talent.
Q: Today many specialty contractors have already begun ramping up their use of Offsite Construction and Prefabrication across their business. Can you provide some examples or case studies where your members completed major Offsite projects and what were some of the benefits they witnessed?
WWCCA members have been successfully managing offsite construction and prefabrication for decades, long before the term became “popular “in the industry. Several of our members have successfully completed major offsite construction projects, many that remain staples in major city skylines. These projects have allowed for faster construction timelines, improved quality control, reduced material waste, and enhanced worker safety. The controlled environment of offsite facilities and the collaborative nature of offsite construction has facilitated better coordination among project stakeholders, resulting in smoother project execution, increased overall efficiency, and enhanced client satisfaction.
Q: When it comes to investing in Offsite Construction, what advice do you have to members who are considering it but have yet to make the leap? What learnings could they take from other WWCCA members who’ve already made the move?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to offsite and prefabrication. Contractors who are considering this type of business opportunity are encouraged to communicate with their clients, their GC’s and their industry partners to understand the complexities, opportunities beyond the initial project, and any hurdles that may prove detrimental to their existing scope of work. If any contractor is interested in learning from others, they are encouraged to attend their local association meetings and network with their peers. It’s at those events they can build relationships and find the person they are looking to learn more from. 
Q: In what ways can technology help your members realize the full benefits of offsite construction? What challenges do you believe technology can help solve and accelerate offsite adoption and growth?
Technology can play a significant role in maximizing the benefits of offsite construction. The most immediate and seemingly obvious answer is Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. It enables enhanced design coordination and clash detection, leading to improved accuracy and efficiency during offsite manufacturing. Advanced robotics and automation can streamline production processes and increase productivity. Additionally, cloud-based collaboration platforms and project management tools, like Offsight, facilitate effective communication and information sharing among project teams, regardless of their geographical locations. By addressing labor needs, improving productivity, and fostering collaboration, technology accelerates the adoption and growth of offsite construction.
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