Where’s the crystal ball when you need one? Without crystal balls, tarot cards or other mind-reading methods, we turn to the industry trades to help us “see into the future.”

According to the Association of General Contractors (AGC) from survey results released on January 2, “Construction executives appear to remain confident about their market prospects for 2019, although they are simultaneously concerned about finding qualified workers to execute projects. Both the optimism about workloads and the worry about worker availability cut across all regions, project categories and types of contractors.” The survey was administered immediately following the November elections through December 17, 2018 (prior to the recent government shut-down).

In its 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Report, the AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate found that almost 80% of the more than 1,300 contractors they surveyed plan to add workers to their payrolls this year — one of the positives highlighted in the annual study — despite worries about the pool of available and qualified workers. The study went on to report, “Staffing challenges are affecting project costs and completion times. One-third of respondents said costs were higher than expected, and a slightly higher share of firms is now putting higher prices into new bids or contracts. A third of firms experienced longer-than-anticipated completion times, and about one-fifth of firms are now quoting longer completion times in bids and contracts.”

Midway through last year, ESub Construction Software published a list of 10 Construction Industry Trends that they believed would carry over into 2019. They included: technology advances and integration highlighting the increase use of drones, green technology, increase in modular and prefabricated construction projects, increasing material costs, decreased labor force, better safety equipment, sustainability, project management solutions, and building information modeling. Click HERE for the details on each of these trends.

For those who are interested in learning more, ConstructionDive is offering a free webinar ​on January 30 at 2pm featuring a panel of experts who will look at the trends that could shape the future of construction. From planning and design to maintenance and repairs, the webinar will cover what you need to know to prepare for 2019.

And outside of the construction industry, here’s a glimpse into some of the perhaps more quirky yet relevant QuantamRun’s 107 predictions for 2019:

  • 5G compatible laptops to arrive by 2019 thanks to Intel/HP/Lenovo /Dell partnership. 1
  • GM’s self-driving cars become available for ride-sharing services, potentially competing with Uber. 1
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 set to air and present viewers with the most epic battle scenes ever created for TV. 1
  • Saudi oil giant, Saudi Aramco, will release its first IPO Is late in 2019. 1
  • Harley-Davidson releases its electric motorcycle, Project LiveWire. 1
  • SpaceX gigabit internet satellites launch early in 2019, offering a new, global internet service by the end of the year. 1
  • Volvo ceases production of new product lines of petrol cars and focuses entirely on designing electric vehicles. 1
  • Foldable phones to make a comeback in 2019, especially smartphones with foldable screens. 1 (really?)
  • Worldwide, the Internet officially becomes bigger than TV this year in terms of minutes spent consuming content. 1
  • The Benban Solar Park, the world’s largest solar park will finish construction in Egypt by late 2019. 1
  • The world’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire, UK, starts construction. 1
  • Significant economic recession impacts the US early in 2019 that spreads globally. 1
  • NASA completes the Unmanned Aerial System Traffic Management (UTM) to manage drone traffic in the skies. 1
  • European Union permits the use of self-driving vehicles on roads throughout the EU. 1
  • Tesla produces over 500,000 cars for the first time. 1
  • James Webb Space Telescope is launched into orbit to discover liquid water on other planets 1
  • Cost of solar panels, per watt, equals 1.4 US dollars 1
  • Global reserves of Manganese is fully mined and depleted 1
  • England’s “Crossrail” is fully built 1
  • Skylon (spacecraft) goes into operation 1
  • And … the world population is forecasted to reach 7,678,174,000 1

So although there is no crystal ball to give us all of the answers, we here at the METALCON Blog will continue to monitor the industry news and bring you relevant information as it becomes available. Wishing everyone a strong and prosperous New Year.