2017 is now behind us, and here at W.L. Decker Contractor, we are excited to say we accomplished more than we could have dreamed. As we step into 2018, theres a lot of new trends emerging in the construction and commercial contractor industry; we plan to meet the challenge, and tackle these trends head on. Here are a few pointed out by Kim Slowey—author at Construction Dive—that we think are worth keeping in the forefront of our company heading into 2018.


Similar to frustrations we hear the public having with other technologies, like their phones and devices, owners are wanting the buildings to have more lasting power—resiliency. In 2018 we can expect owners to be more conscious of how long new structures are designed to last. “Rather than throwing up duplicate replacement structures,” Kim Slowey says, “more owners will likely heed the call of organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council and demand resilient site and structure features.” We think think this is a great change for the industry. As a commercial contractor that focuses on fast casual restaurants, our builds tend to be smaller and quicker, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t built to last. When we put up a new build, resiliency has always been a goal of ours. We’re happy to hear owners will be valuing this aspect more in the future.

Short on Labor

Labor has always been a problem in the construction industry. Skilled craft workers have slowly been on the decline, and this isn’t news. The unfortunate news is this problem isn’t looking any better. “Officials in various parts of the country have used words like “dire” and “scary” to describe the availability of qualified labor as younger individuals resist construction as a career option and more baby boomers retire.” We’ve always paid special attention to skilled craft workers and we plan to continue to give this issue the attention it needs.

Offsite Construction

Although we are a national GC that typically works far away from our main offices, we try to be onsite as much as possible because it keeps communication tight and organized. Having said that, we are definitely excited to embrace potential partnerships with offsite fabricators.

Public Transportation

New types of high tech public transit is being spotlighted and invested in. This is a very excited development, and although we don’t work in public transportation, the changing infrastructure will still effect the retail and restaurant industry in a big way. We are paying close attention to make sure we adapt accordingly.


In 2017 we’ve seen machines that can build entire structures without any assistance from humans. We’ve seen brick laying machines, and drones that can oversee construction sites. The question isn’t “will” automation be key to commercial construction, it’s “when.” 2018 might be the year it really starts to step into the industry. We always watch closely as tech develops, to make sure we know exactly the right time to invest and start using automation.

New Policy Regulation

There are new laws and policies going forward that could severely effect the industry. Although most of them depend on what part of the country you are building in, there are a few sweeping policies that could effect everyone nationwide, like Trumps most recent tax overhaul. Slowey also gave a few specific regional examples, “Beyond federal policy shaping the industry, some cities, states and agencies are passing regulation as well. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in October signed Intro 1447, a controversial law that requires construction workers to undergo at least 40 hours of safety training.”

Giant Companies Expanding Spaces

Companies like Google and Apple have been expanding rapidly, building new campus facilities. These are an important trend to watching moving forward because it will effect some of the biggest builds in the industry. As Slowey pointed out, “As more firms continue to build out their facilities, many are also likely to add infrastructure needed to support their operations. Data center construction, especially, is taking off as companies increasingly amass unprecedented amounts of information in their servers.”

AR/VR, Wearables, and Drones

As we said earlier, we’ve been keeping a close eye on all new tech that comes out. 2018 will be a big year not just for automation, but augmented reality, wearables, and remote drones. This are technologies that will help us especially as national GC’s who travel a lot. Using tech like this will allow us to keep closer and tighter communication with our partners.



You can read the full article here.