Volume 50, Issue 11 - November 2015

Contract Glazing

Survey Says: Worker Shortage a Real Concern for Construction Firms

The construction industry has continued its ascent this year, with all major indicators showing there is plenty of work to be had and more on the way. Finding qualified workers to meet the demand is a different story.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently released results from its 2015 Worker Shortage Survey, and concern regarding a lack of qualified workers continues to loom.

Of the 1,358 respondents to the industry-wide survey, 89 percent report they expect to hire additional or replacement hourly craft professionals in the next 12 months, with 73 percent expecting to hire salaried professionals. However, 86 percent of firms reported they are having difficulty filling hourly craft or salaried professional positions.

It’s not sector-specific, either. More than half of the 47 firms employing glaziers indicate they’re having trouble filling this position, and nearly half of the 220 firms with iron workers are having trouble finding employees.

“Few firms across the country have been immune from growing labor shortages in the construction industry,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “The sad fact is too few students are being exposed to construction careers or provided with the basic skills needed to prepare for such a career path.”

AGC chief economist Ken Simonson says that as labor shortages grow more severe, competition for workers is heating up. He notes that 36 percent of firms report losing hourly craft professionals to other local construction firms, and 21 percent to other industries locally.

According to the survey, 13 percent of responding firms report losing workers to construction firms in other locations. Growing competition for workers is prompting 56 percent of firms to increase base pay rates for hourly craft professionals, the report reveals. Moreover, 43 percent of firms have increased their reliance on subcontractors because of tight labor conditions.
The worker shortage is affecting firms large and small, as well as both union and non-union. It’s also not limited to any part of the country, though the shortage is most severe in the Midwest, according to the survey. The Northeast had the lowest rate at 73 percent.

UL Begins Curtainwall
Mock-Up Testing

The building envelope is the latest focus area for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), as the company is now offering curtainwall mock-up testing and field-testing capabilities.

Performance testing is available to determine the rate of air infiltration, water penetration, structural, impact and cyclical performance for doors, windows and curtainwalls. Testing can be conducted in the laboratory, in the field and in curtainwall mock-ups.

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