Back on track and moving forward

Westway home in La Jolla, a Murfey Company project.
(Murfey Co.)

The construction industry is bouncing back from the challenges of the past 18 months – and quickly. I expect that the industry will finish strong in 2021 and that momentum will continue through 2022.

Residential construction is on the rise, especially in the West. This is partly due to the focus on increasing affordable housing options.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing permit authorizations, housing starts, housing under construction, and housing units completed, were significantly higher this summer when compared to last year at the same time.

The hotel industry has slowed down during the past several months due to COVID-19, but we have turned the corner. We should see an increase in this type of construction during 2022. Construction of office space and religious buildings are the only two areas in which small declines were seen in 2021 and we expect these might continue in 2022.

All of this is especially good news given the reports of industry challenges, such as the tough labor market, unreliable global supply chain and inflation (propelled by consumer spending and the Federal debt).

Now more than ever cost efficiency is the goal of construction projects. As a result, the industry continues to identify ways to increase cost effectiveness to keep projects on budget and on time, maximize safety and minimize safety and save money.

How do we accomplish this?

Technology, such as specialized software programs, are an important tool for minimizing costs. Software is used to estimate construction costs and to manage projects. The building industry uses cloud-based software to secure information related to cost and timing, which all add up to improved budgets and timelines – and in real time.

Just as the device-to-device connections of our cell phones, email and our calendars have allowed us to have multiple devices connected, this concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is being used in the construction industry, too. On-site construction equipment can provide a similar efficiency, and these connections will result in safety and cost savings.

Artificial Intelligence is projected to be used more frequently, because of its ability to reduce construction costs. Software can create models that assist project managers in forecasting timeframes and budgets. This software can propose safety solutions to reduce injuries and deaths at construction sites.

Another positive change is the increased use of renewable biofuels to power equipment. California is a leader in this trend, and the state’s programs to subsidize this effort has made a difference. Just as diesel fuel is on its way out in the trucking and transportation industries, the same movement is seen in the construction industry. Electric powered machines are becoming widely accepted and reducing carbon emissions.

Murfey Company has been a leader in the commercial and residential construction industry since 2009. For more information go to