Confidence in Resiliency Expertise Low Among Contractors Even as Demand Increases

Dodge Construction Network’s latest The Civil Quarterly study finds that increasing resilience of U.S. infrastructure is a priority across the industry. The study’s data shows that 82% of civil contractors and 92% of civil engineers say that they have worked on projects that prioritize resilience.

The report finds that the majority of civil engineers and contractors have some experience in construction resiliency.

The Civil Quarterly report, which is produced along with Infotech and Hexagon, is based on a quarterly survey of civil contractors and engineers in May 2022. The report includes data on the business conditions faced by civil contractors, including “the acute degree of difficulty they report in finding sufficiently skilled workers and trending data over three years on the use of new and emerging technologies onsite.”

According to the Dodge Construction Network, the study’s findings uphold the promise of improving the resilience of U.S. infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) — The IIJA includes funding to bolster the resilience of infrastructure in the U.S.

The report finds that the majority of civil engineers and contractors have some experience in construction resiliency, and on average report that 40% of their projects fall in this category. These projects include strategies to reduce the impact of flooding, the hardening of infrastructure to avoid vulnerability to attack and designing assets to function effectively during and after a disaster.

Of course, engineers and contractors have different priorities when it comes to prioritization, the Dodge Construction Network reports.

Most civil engineers find that reducing the impact of flooding and hardening of infrastructure to avoid attacks should be prioritized. However, civil engineers want to focus on designing the structure to be able to quickly recover after an attack instead of designing structures to function effectively during a disaster.

On the other hand, civil contractors believe that designing a structure to function during a disaster is a top priority. Interestingly, fewer than 20% of civil contractors report strategies to deal with specific types of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, wind damage and fires. The Civil Quarterly report finds that these specific disasters are not a top priority for future projects for both contractors and engineers.

Furthermore, confidence among civil contractors’ expertise in project resiliency is low. Only 28% of contractors report that they are experts in resiliency, but nearly 81% of the contractors surveyed who have in-house experience regard resiliency as a competitive advantage.

The report suggests that more training and more focus on resiliency will help improve the bottom line of companies and also improve the state of infrastructure in the U.S.