TORONTO — A new report from Procore Technologies says nine out of 10 of respondents to a construction survey in Canada express confidence about industry conditions over the next 12 months, with seven out of 10 construction businesses expecting an increase in the number or value of projects over that timeframe.
The benchmark report, titled How We Build Now: Technology and Industry Trends Shaping Canadian Construction in 2023, was released June 22. The report was intended to take the current pulse of the industry and examine attitudes towards the digitization of the sector, stated Procore.
A recent survey found 92 per cent of Canadians agreed there is an urgent need to build more or update current infrastructure in Canada over the next two years. Forty-three per cent of those who work in the residential sector expect to build more housing units in 2023 compared to 2022.
Over half of respondents from B.C. (51 per cent) and Alberta (55 per cent) who work in the residential sector expect to build and deliver fewer housing units in 2023 compared to 2022. This is a contrast to Ontario where 60 per cent of respondents expect to build and deliver more housing units in 2023.
The report finds respondents consider hiring and retaining skilled labour is one of the top challenges they face over the next 12 months.
Twenty-nine per cent report they have been unable to take on more projects in the past three to six months due to labour shortages; 27 per cent agree it is hard for construction to compete with other industries for good employees; 27 per cent agree there is too much competition in construction for talent; and 32 per cent fear some of their most experienced people will retire within the next few years and take valuable knowledge with them.
Supply chain problems are impacting respondents to a different extent across the country.
Quebec-based respondents report the highest impact, with 41 per cent reporting significant delays due to supply chain issues, compared to 35 per cent of respondents from Ontario and just a quarter of respondents in B.C.
Procore said based on the report’s findings, construction firms in Canada understand digital transformation is required to overcome the labour shortage: 22 per cent of construction businesses consider themselves a digital-first business and 51 per cent are “well on the way” to adopting digital formats and workflows.
Over 30 per cent of respondents identify needing new technology to improve operational efficiency and cost controls amid economic volatility.
“We are encouraged to see the Canadian construction industry’s leaders express optimism as they look to consolidate and build on post-pandemic progress,” said Nolan Frazier, regional sales director, Canada, Procore, in a statement. “In particular, this survey shows half of the respondents see a need to embrace greater collaboration in projects among stakeholders; half of them are also well on their way in their digital transformation journey.”
Procore will participate in a panel discussion with representatives of the Canadian Construction Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada and the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association and Procore on July 13.