When you’re building a new home, don’t think of it as a project
With the building materials boom now underway in the US, one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that the real estate industry is not just the building material of choice for many people, but also the building equipment used to manufacture it.
A new survey by real estate firm Pivotal Research shows that for the first time ever, the majority of US homeowners are now using construction materials from the construction industry rather than domestic-made building materials.
That is partly due to the fact that the industry has grown from less than 10% of construction jobs in 2006 to more than 40% today, with companies such as Balfour Beatty, BHP Billiton, and Caterpillar taking a majority of those jobs.
“While domestic-built construction materials are the most common, it is not the only one,” says the survey, which also looked at trends across the US.
“The majority of Americans are choosing construction materials that are sourced from abroad.”
The findings of the Pivuls report are likely to raise questions about the future of American construction, which has seen a series of closures and layoffs in recent years.
In 2018, the US construction industry employed just 6% of the workforce, down from the peak of 9.6% in 2012, according to a 2017 report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The industry has also been hit by two recent high-profile accidents, in which at least three workers were killed and another injured in 2016.
While US companies have taken steps to boost safety standards in recent months, many of them are still relying on domestic-manufactured building materials and are now struggling to make ends meet.
“It is important to note that this is not necessarily the case,” says Pivols research manager John Daley.
“We did not find a trend in terms of increased reliance on foreign-made materials for construction jobs, but it is an indicator of the industry’s reliance on domestic materials.”
This article first appeared on the FT website.