However, one major development is having a big impact on where these jobs are carried out, with the future of construction likely to move off site and into more controlled environments.
The trend which has made this possible is prefabricating – where whole structures are constructed in pieces in a factory and then reassembled like a jigsaw puzzle at the building site.
Using this system, companies are now manufacturing panels which lock together to create a completed structure. All of the wiring, plumbing and insulation is installed into the panels within a factory setting and then shipped to the building site and slotted together.
This trend has already had a measurable impact on certain careers, with a recent US survey from FMI finding that almost half of electrical and mechanical contractors were seeing at least 11 per cent of their work coming from prefabricated structures.
Over time, these numbers will likely increase as more clients begin demanding prefabricated buildings.
The same survey found that 61 per cent of those surveyed are expecting the use of ready-made structures to increase by at least 5 per cent a year for the next three years.
There are a number of key benefits that future tradies will see from prefabrication. For roofers, constructing roof panels in a factory rather than on site will make the work a lot safer while also reducing delays caused by the weather.
Other trades – like plumbing – are also moving in doors and realising greater productivity by prefabricating their work. The increase in productivity which comes from working in a controlled environment is bringing considerable benefits for these industries.
Although this trend is creating considerable benefits for a number of different trades, it will not be the end of working on site. Prefabricated structures still need to be assembled, which requires the same set of expertise.
Many clients will also continue to demand unique projects which cannot be fully prefabricated off site. In these cases, tradies will likely find themselves using a mix of sections manufactured off site and customised building parts built on location in order to create a customised design.
With prefabricating beginning to take off now, these building tools will only become more popular over the next few years, presenting an opportunity for both tradies and apprentices alike.
By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator