Document Detail

Title: SPC2008-2 - 2008 Emerging Trends & Blue Sky Report
Publication Date: 10/1/2008
Product Type: General CII Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 23
An environmental scan of the industry comprised of two main parts: 'Emerging Trends' and 'Blue Sky Visioning.' 'Emerging Trends' focuses on issues and trends that will have the biggest impact over the next three to five years. 'Blue Sky Visioning' identifies important issues and trends on the 15-20-year horizon.


In 2008, the Strategic Planning Committee conducted an environmental scan consisting of two main components: Emerging Trends and Blue Sky Visioning. Emerging Trends focus on the immediate future impacting the next three to five years, while the focus of Blue Sky Visioning is centered on a more distant timeframe within the next 15–20 years. Even though the two components focused on different timetables, the topics of an increasingly global society and heightened emphasis on sustainability emerged as being important to each discussion. Each component also includes discussion on the changing role that technology plays in the development of the capital facility development process.

In the Emerging Trends discussion, the most critical issues identified are related to workforce concerns. Nearly all sources indicate that the construction industry is facing and will continue to face a shortage of qualified workers at both the trade and management levels. Globalization and sustainability are also cited as being important factors affecting the construction industry, but they often take a supporting role to an overall discussion on workforce issues.

Blue Sky Visioning shows globalization and sustainability to have much greater significance in the distant future. Some futurists even predict that the fundamental engineering challenges related to sustainability will characterize the engineering and construction profession of the future. Sustainability in this context is not a simple discussion on environmental concerns and resource use. This ‘Broad Form Sustainability’ integrates and takes into account environmental considerations, economic viability, and security issues. This discussion on sustainability must be considered with respect to an increasingly global society.

Considering the issues identified in Emerging Trends and Blue Sky Visioning, the construction industry is developing new ways of delivering capital projects and rethinking corporate strategies. Technologies are being developed to make better use of virtual construction models. Companies are increasing the use of modularization. Organizations are beginning to engage in more collaborative approaches to capital facility development.

The Trend environment of construction and society as a whole is constantly changing. At the time of publication, the United States is experiencing a period of great economic uncertainty. This economic uncertainty is also having global repercussions that are not yet fully understood. The construction industry is certainly not immune to the effects of this economic uncertainty and there may be significant consequences to the way the industry operates.