The construction industry in Australia continues to expand due to rural-urban migration, economic trends and advancements in technology. Structural engineers need to be aware of factors in the economy and the country that are influencing the direction the industry will take moving forward.
Issues such as technology, social trends and environmental conservation continue to impact construction and consulting engineering in many different ways. Here are some of the recent trends that have been observed in the industry and what implications they will have moving forward.
The cost of housing continues to rise
The cost of housing, especially in urban areas of Australia, continues to rise at an alarming rate. In fact, a recent housing survey by Demographia (carried out this year) concluded that housing in Australia is "severely unaffordable" and that Sydney was the second most expensive major housing market (behind only to Hong Kong).
The increase in population in the country and in urban areas is causing people to look for alternative, more affordable housing options. The construction engineering industry will have to keep this in mind moving forward. Structural engineers will be faced with the challenge of designing affordable and sustainable housing in their new construction projects.
The industry is facing a skills shortage and an aging workforce
The construction engineering industry is coming to terms with an aging Australian workforce and a younger generation that is not too keen on seeking construction jobs. This has resulted in a shortfall of skills as the industry continues to be dependent on manual labor.
In addition, construction engineering tends to still rely on large amounts of manual labor despite the technological advancements that are revolutionizing other industries.
As a result, structural engineers are faced with the challenge of either recruiting more young people into the workforce, or using technology to automate many manual labor processes.
Designing buildings for weather resistance
Climate change and an unpredictable weather pattern continue to exert pressure on current structures. Areas that were previously non-tornado zones are now starting to experience strong winds and heavy rains.
Moving forward, structural engineers will need to use technology such as construction estimating software to design structures that are able to withstand inclement weather.
Growth in Investment Planning for Infrastructure
The good news for the construction engineering industry is that there is growing pressure on the government to increase funding for infrastructure investment in construction.
This trend will result in more developments in the sector and initiatives that are aimed at addressing the challenges mentioned above. For opportunities in construction engineering, the future is bright.