During 2021, the construction sector contributed significantly to economic growth and recovery in Australia. According to recent Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) Forecasts, 2022 looks set to be yet another bumper year. The industry body predicts:
As work across this sector continues to surge, James Lawrence, Coates GM for Customer and Markets, considers some of the issues and opportunities likely to shape construction businesses in 2022 and beyond.
Recent international supply chain and logistics issues have affected the availability of critical construction materials like steel and timber, James explains. “These issues have been quite challenging for Coates customers, causing material shortages, significant capital cost increases and project delays,” he says.
“Current forecasts indicate that supply chain issues like these will continue to affect the cost and availability of construction materials in 2022, with demand for materials expected to average 120% across the next three years,” James continues. “The demand for equipment and plant is also expected to grow by an average of 125% and 140% respectively.”
Offering proprietary temporary works solutions is one way that Coates can support customers in delivering projects on time and on budget, despite ongoing supply chain issues. “In lieu of sourcing structural steel for bespoke support systems, Coates offers a range of proprietary shoring systems that can be designed, installed and certified by our national in-house Engineering Solutions team,” says James.
Coates also continues to invest in growing its fleet of quality, sustainable equipment to meet customer demand and provide customers with greater assurance of equipment availability in 2022.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the supply of skilled and experienced labour to the Australian construction sector. Lingering uncertainty and ongoing social distancing and travel restrictions are likely to continue fuelling these labour shortages in 2022.
“Turnkey solutions delivered by our national Engineering and Industrial Solutions teams can help to alleviate some of the workforce pressures that customers currently face,” says James. “When businesses rely on Coates for solution design, installation and certification they no longer need to scale up their workforce, up-skill their teams or bring in their own engineering specialists to deliver the job.”
The emergence of new technologies and new ways of working was another defining feature for many construction businesses in 2021. “During the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the uptake of remote and flexible working – a customer trend that looks set to continue in 2022,” says James. “Globally, the popularity of video conferencing and other online collaboration tools has grown too, with Microsoft Teams users growing from 32 million in early 2020 to 145 million by mid-2021.”
Coates continues to adapt and evolve, with technology playing an increasingly important role in supporting both employees and customers. Investing in technologies that can inform and help customers to optimise their equipment utilisation will be a critical focus for Coates moving into 2022.
“Throughout the whole customer engagement, Coates uses technology to help customers work more efficiently and to get more out of their equipment hire,” says James. “In 2022, we will continue bringing increasingly IoT-enabled technologies and platforms to our customers, investing in technologies like telematics and drones, and expanding the IoT data housed within our Coates Connect customer portal to inform customer choice.”
Global focus on the climate crisis continues to intensify and, coming into 2022, construction businesses will need to continue to embrace sustainable thinking and find new and innovative ways to reduce emissions. Coates recently embarked on its own journey around sustainability, culminating with the launch of the first Sustainability Strategy.
“This strategy helps us to achieve our vision to be the market leader in safe, smart and sustainable equipment solutions and commits Coates to some solid targets and strategies with our parent company, Seven Group Holdings,” says James.
“Our efforts are underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, and a circular model that builds economic, natural and social capital for all stakeholders through minimising resource use, enhancing performance and designing for reuse and recyclability. This approach also strengthens our commitment to tackling climate change and outlines a clear plan for reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.”
Supporting customers in making greener equipment choices is another important pillar of this strategy.
“In 2022, Coates will continue to invest in a greener fleet that includes solar, electric, hybrid and biodiesel fuelled equipment, as well as technologies that enable both efficiency and emission reductions to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals,” James concludes.
Reach out to discover how Coates can support booming construction businesses to work more efficiently and sustainably in 2022
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