Nicole Krawcke, the chief editor of Plumbing & Mechanical and PM Engineer magazines, goes deep into 2024’s outlook on the plumbing and construction industries.
2024 Outlook for Plumbing and Construction Industries: Insights and Trends
- Legislative Impact on Construction: The construction industry is expected to experience growth in 2024, driven by funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS Act. High construction confidence is reported by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), forecasting increased profit margins and staffing levels.
- Key Focus Areas for Engineering and Construction Firms: Deloitte’s 2024 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook suggests that firms should concentrate on five areas to leverage growth and navigate challenges: sustainability and efficiency, digitalization, market uncertainty in residential and nonresidential segments, operational strategies for cost and demand management, and new workforce norms to address talent gaps.
- Plumbing Industry Trends and Challenges: Mark Fasel, Director at the International Code Council (ICC), emphasizes the importance of plumbing resilience against natural disasters, the role of water reuse in conservation, and the need for efficient plumbing systems. The industry is adapting to changes in refrigerant regulations and sees expanding opportunities in clean hydrogen hubs and manufacturing sectors. Tax credits and decarbonization are reshaping the geothermal market.
- Labor Shortages and Technological Adaptation: Contractors are investing in technology, like Viega’s copper press tool, to ease installation processes in response to the ongoing skilled labor shortage.
- Residential vs. Commercial Markets: The outlook for 2024 shows potential slowdown in commercial construction, but the residential sector remains strong. Geopolitical factors and federal policies will significantly influence both sectors.
- Regulatory and Environmental Influences: Sustainability and environmental concerns are major drivers of change in the industry. The focus is on electrification, energy-efficient technologies, and compliance with evolving regulations.
- 2024 Code Updates: The International Plumbing Code (IPC) and International Mechanical Code (IMC) will see significant updates, focusing on aspects like piping support, tracer wire requirements, plumbing fixture updates, and refrigerant regulations.
- Advice for Industry Professionals: Staying informed about regulatory changes and emerging technologies is crucial for the industry. Firms are encouraged to attract younger generations and educate them about the vast opportunities in the plumbing industry.
As we move towards 2024, the plumbing and construction industries are on the cusp of a transformative era, fueled by legislative advancements and technological innovations. The influx of funding from pivotal acts like the IIJA, IRA, and CHIPS Act heralds a period of significant growth and development. This promising outlook is tempered by challenges such as labor shortages and the need for adaptation to evolving environmental and regulatory landscapes.
Key industry leaders, like Mark Fasel from the International Code Council, have underscored the importance of resilience, efficiency, and sustainability in plumbing systems against a backdrop of increasing natural disasters and water conservation needs. The shift towards digitalization, decarbonization, and innovative technologies like geothermal systems, signifies a progressive move towards a more sustainable and efficient future.
As the industry navigates these changes, the importance of staying informed, adaptable, and proactive cannot be overstated. Embracing new technologies, understanding regulatory changes, and attracting a new generation of skilled professionals are vital for success. The 2024 landscape for the plumbing and construction industries is not just about adapting to change but also about leading the charge towards a more resilient and sustainable future. The insights and trends outlined in this article pave the way for industry professionals to seize these opportunities and rise to the challenges of a rapidly evolving sector.
The full article can be found here.