Civil engineering and building construction is a dynamic industry, and it’s always changing. A prerequisite for any business that wishes to be competitive in a market rife with innovation, advancements, and transformations is to stay up to date with trends in the field. The engineering sector is evolving every second as a result of advances in improved equipment, fresh technology, sustainable materials, and new ideas.
As the world around us changes, the ways that we build and design structures are also changing. There are several big challenges facing civil engineering firms over the next few years, which will affect how they operate their businesses. While none of these challenges are insurmountable, it will take strategic thinking and an innovative approach to overcome them.
1. Seasonal shifts in qualified talent
One of the biggest challenges facing civil engineering firms in 2022 is the lack of qualified talent available in the hiring market. As a result, companies may be struggling to find individuals who have the skills and experience necessary to meet project demands.
As such, you must give your company’s hiring practices top priority if you want to remain competitive in 2022. Here are some tips on how you can attract and retain top talent:
- Hire only those candidates who possess both technical prowess and interpersonal skills—and then train them yourself (or partner with training providers). By doing so, your firm can avoid costly mistakes that could lead to disastrous outcomes down the road—and successfully retain new hires.
- Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas about improving efficiency; this will allow everyone at every level within your organisation to contribute ideas for improvements without fear of being judged negatively by others.
- Make sure all employees understand their value and contributions to the team; celebrate individual accomplishments, as well as team wins, as often as possible.
2. Inability to attract new clients
Many civil engineers today are not able to identify the right market for their services or create an effective strategy for reaching this market. If you’re struggling with this issue, here are some potential suggestions:
- Find out what your target audience needs from your business and create a plan for delivering those key products or services to them. This will help you decide how much time, money, and effort you need to put into marketing yourself as a company before it’s worth pursuing further client outreach efforts like advertising or networking at industry events.
- Target new clients by focusing on value propositions is another option that can help increase lead generation activity while allowing you to establish relationships with people outside of your current customer base – who may be looking for projects similar in scope.
3. Increased competition
To be successful as a civil engineering firm in an evolved business environment with extreme competition, you must have a strategic plan in place that includes innovation and partnerships.
- Consider how you can innovate to meet client demands for more green engineering solutions, as well as programs that provide value-added services such as remote monitoring or data analysis.
- Partner with other companies, contractors or agencies to offer additional services for your clients; this allows you to expand your offerings without hiring additional employees at an exorbitant cost.
- You can also consider partnering with other engineering firms to expand your services. This is especially important if you are a small business and don’t have the resources to offer everything that clients need. For example, if you specialise in structural engineering projects but have a client who needs geotechnical work done as well, look for a firm that specialises in geotechnical engineering.
4. Increased government regulation and ever-changing public opinion
In the years ahead, with multiple micro and macro-economic changes including climate change, government regulation will become even more important. The civil engineering industry faces several challenges from the government and public opinion, more so today, than ever before. To meet these challenges, civil engineering firms need to understand how the regulatory environment works and how it can be influenced by them.
The first step is to get involved in the regulatory process. This means identifying your local governing bodies and agencies (such as state or county governments), learning about their policies, attending meetings where these issues are discussed, and becoming an active participant in these conversations. Once you understand how local regulations work, you can then learn more about federal engineering and infrastructure regulations that affect your business as well—and start engaging with them at that level too!
Another part of this challenge is keeping an eye on how consumers are perceiving aspects such as climate change and what adaptation is required from your firm to retain consumer confidence and trust.
5. Seasonal technology and innovation surges
One of the biggest challenges facing civil engineering firms today is the ebbs and flows in market technology and innovation.
This might be surprising, given that most industries are seeing a surge forward in pace, progress and productivity with new platforms and software. However, you must understand how these periodic surges and recessions can affect your engineering business. In fact:
- Technology plays a key role in innovation.
- Improving productivity is essential for engineering businesses to stay competitive in their markets, and remain relevant to customers who are increasingly demanding faster results from suppliers.
- Technology also helps reduce costs by streamlining processes and automating repetitive tasks so that less time is spent on manual labor or inefficient processes that don’t add value to the product being delivered to customers (i.e., extra steps). This allows engineering companies more freedom when budgeting resources for new projects or investments because they have more cash available after reducing expenses elsewhere within their organisation.
Civil engineering management software platforms like PlanRadar allow you to access all building-related data in one place allowing you to identify inefficiencies and spot opportunities for carbon emission reduction, improve energy efficiency, and reduce costs. To learn more about how PlanRadar enables you to plan and adapt to climate change, you can book a demo or contact us here.
Thinking strategically about engineering industry challenges
The first step in being innovative is to acknowledge that you and your engineering firm have your own strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Then, you can look at those strengths and weaknesses from a strategic perspective. For example:
- What do we do well?
- How can we leverage those strengths more effectively?
- What are our biggest challenges or weaknesses?
- How can we work on improving them?
- Are there any new technologies or ways of doing things that might help us address these issues better than before?
Civil engineering firms need to start thinking about innovation as a strategy. The rapid and evolving application of technology has advanced significantly in the civil engineering industry over the last decade. Continuous innovation and adoption rates for new technologies in civil engineering fields has the potential to transform cities and provide new living possibilities for all of us. The best way to do so is through the implementation of an innovation system that establishes clear goals and measures their progress along the way. This will allow you to identify areas where your engineering firm needs improvement, can build a culture of continuous learning and improvement, and ultimately improve your bottom line.
Looking to get started with a civil engineering software that enables you to share data, improve collaboration, and identify growth opportunities? Book a free PlanRadar product demo here.