There are many serious issues facing the construction industry that construction lawyers need to be aware of and on top of. Unless a contractor or other construction professional has a construction lawyer who is familiar with employment law, construction law, regulations and codes, and a host of other issues, it can be difficult to conduct business in an efficient and cost-effective way. Here are six of the biggest issues currently facing construction that construction lawyers need to be focusing on.
- The generations are very different. The plain truth is that many Millennials have a quite different work ethic than generations that came before them. They also have a different skill set and are frequently much better at working with technology while much worse at working with their hands or problem-solving. This can lead to serious conflicts not only between employees but also between older employers and younger crews. This makes understanding employment law and issues particularly important as a part of understanding construction law in general.
- The environment is increasingly important. Both individuals and governments are blaming the construction industry for much of the world’s carbon emissions and other environmental pollution problems. Fighting this trend by denying the problem doesn’t work. A better solution is for the construction industry to pivot and become leaders in environmental issues and sustainability solutions. Getting out ahead of this problem is going to be crucial to the long-term viability of any construction company, and construction law must understand all the environmental issues at stake and advise clients on getting past environmental concerns and becoming a net positive within the green revolution.
- There are not enough workers. The construction industry and the general economy are booming. While this is good, it does bring with it challenges, including a shortage of qualified and experienced workers. In the last year, nearly 70% of contractors reported having difficulty finding the professionals that they needed. This trend is expected to continue as many in the younger generations have not taken this sort of professional training seriously as a career opportunity. This makes construction an employees’ market, and with that comes contractual and employment law issues that a construction attorney must be on top of.
- Technology continues to develop at a rapid pace. As technology changes everything, and particularly as green technologies take over, contractors and construction companies must have the flexibility necessary to adapt. Without that, a company will quickly be left behind. At the same time, too much change too quickly can frustrate employees and result in slipshod work. To get this right, companies need to adapt slowly but steadily and implement changes in a sensible manner. This requires an expert in construction law to make sure that things go smoothly at every step along the way.
- Unfair contract terms in a competitive market. When the economy is strong and many construction companies and contractors jump into the game, those hiring them know that they can use the contract as leverage to get the best possible deal. This can lead to contractors accepting contracts with unfavorable terms that cause a lot of issues later. While it may seem tempting to undercut the competition by agreeing to such terms, an expert in contract law should be there to make sure that companies don’t get themselves into more trouble than they can get back out of.
- Safety is increasingly an issue. Construction work has always been dangerous and insurance has always been expensive. For reasons that are not entirely understood, safety incidents have increased in the last few years. This has resulted in stricter punishments, financial penalties, and even some convictions on manslaughter charges for those directly responsible when a person is killed on the job. This makes it all the more important to review and implement best practices in safety procedures and to have construction law experts on hand to give advice and direction on how to protect both employees and the company
These are just a few of the issues that construction law must understand and overcome on behalf of the entire construction industry. Each new year brings fresh challenges, but construction law experts can be expected to rise them.