It is all about demand and supply. With increased demand of construction projects, there is a parallel increase in costs for materials, land and also construction laborers and professionals.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a 4.8% increase in material costs between February 2016 and 2017, while NAHB reports that softwood products price has jumped 25% in 2017’s first quarter. On labor front they found that 75% of builders say they've had to pay higher wages and bids, and 64% have delayed projects.

The housing market crash discouraged many aspiring and established professionals to join the construction workforce as opportunities seemed bleak. With recent revitalization, the industry faces an acute shortage of skilled professionals and labor as discovered by AGC with their survey of 1,386 companies where, more than 80% of companies are reporting difficulty finding qualified workers, causing them to aggressively lobby Congress to support career and skilled trades training.

To draw attention to the industry, businesses must invest in professional development and next generation initiatives. Preparing trained and skilled labors and professionals requires time but there are options to expedite the process to overcome this shortage. Organizations such as RICS provide a variety of courses across the spectrum from real estate, construction and other build environments. These courses are available for all levels of professionals from experienced to novice. Many courses do not even require any pre-requisite.

The US GDP in construction has shown an increase month to month, reporting $798.10b in the fourth quarter of 2016 from $784.90b in the third quarter of 2016. With low interest rates, continued foreign migration and investment, and continued government infrastructure spending, there is a solid focus on rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

The BCIS forecast for construction output projected to rise 13% over the next five years while uncertainty over labor availability will push up labor costs by over 20%. As we push forward to navigate the restrictions that labor and construction projects place on the growing demand in the country, a clear indication has become apparent that proper cost management will be imperative to deal with the identified problems projects will face.

With growing demand and competition, businesses are looking at creative construction individuals while evolving their long term business objectives. This is leading to an aggressive search for certified cost management professionals. If you’re an individual looking for growth in your career or starting a new job, focus on the role of a quantity surveyor or cost estimator.

The skill set of fully certified cost management professionals is varied and broad. Equipped with deep knowledge of construction, law, sustainability, quantification, financial control and contracts, they are qualified to advise clients in a broad range of construction and property issues, making the cost management role an invaluable construction professional. RICS recognizes this future demand in cost management and now offers a Quantity Surveying in Americas Foundation course to support emerging professionals. Find out more about course here or visit olaaamericas.rics.org about other training opportunities. 

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