“The only con I can think of is a small one; if you look very closely you can see the panel lines which give it away as a panelized product. But it’s not very obvious,” Graves says.
Innovation in Construction
InsulStone is representative of the emerging technologies and approaches taking place within the construction industry, according to Graves.
“In many ways construction technology is similar to what my grandfather and father understood it with some important differences,” he says, noting computers have enabled the industry to be much more efficient on the business end. Administrative, estimating, and engineering software continue to evolve, as well.
“Power tools [cordless and pneumatic] have added efficiencies to the job site, making buildings quicker and cheaper to complete,” adds Graves. “There are many new composite building products that are attractive and extend building life, but in my view the biggest changes have occurred in the improvement of the building envelope [thermal and moisture barriers] and energy efficient designs.”
Products such as these are a boon to the construction industry, given potential savings in labor and lower heating costs that are obviously welcomed by Alaska-based builders and property owners.
According to Neal Fried, an economist with the state’s department of labor research division, the industry has been undergoing a “rough” patch with big job losses in 2016 and 2017 related to the continuing recession and declining capital budget spend for construction projects.
“The amount of activity is relatively low, with the public and private side taking some pretty big hits,” says Fried. Yet there is a positive sign on the horizon.
“The only part of construction [growing], surprisingly, though it’s still relatively small, is construction related to residential,” says the economist.