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Worker, Water Shortages Primary Concerns in 2016 Moving Forward Report

Consultative Council Releases Report at Building Innovation 2017

Today, the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council released its 2016 report, Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council, during its Annual Meeting, held as part of Building Innovation 2017: The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo.

The National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council brings together leading U.S. building industry organizations to identify the policies, practices and trends that hinder achieving the nation’s goals of realizing high-performance buildings and communities. Each year, the Council develops a Moving Forward Report to examine some of these challenges and offer findings and recommendations on how to overcome them. The summarized report becomes part of the Institute’s Annual Report, which goes to the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress.

As identified in the 2014 and 2015 reports, the availability of a skilled building-related workforce now and into the future remains a significant challenge to the U.S. building industry. While the issue of water also has been covered in prior reports, a recent increase in droughts and infrastructure issues in places such as Flint, Michigan, have underscored the importance of potable water and the efficient and healthy use of this limited resource. While many of the other challenges identified in earlier reports remain, and those associated findings and recommendations still are relevant, the two issues of workforce and water continue to weigh heavily on the building industry, and are the primary focus of the 2016 Moving Forward Report.

Developing a Skilled Workforce

To maintain its contributions to the U.S. economy and the health, safety, welfare and resilience of the nation’s citizens, the building industry requires the availability of a skilled workforce. Yet, over the past several years, almost all sectors of the U.S. building industry have reported a growing shortage of skilled construction workers. In the 2016 report, the Consultative Council identifies several causes of this disturbing trend and offers recommendations to address them, some of which include:

Water Resources and the Built Environment

Regardless of how well the nation’s homes and commercial buildings are designed and constructed, how sustainable and energy-efficient they are or how vital they are to a community or a local economy, all buildings require a connection to a safe, reliable and continuous water supply in order to fulfill their purpose. When a building does not have a safe and secure water supply, normal building functions stop, the conducting of commerce ends, people are displaced and jobs are lost. In the report, the Consultative Council offers recommendations, with the goal of initiating a dialogue to develop a holistic water strategy for the United States. Some include:

As highlighted in the 2016 Moving Forward Report, both the public and private sectors in the United States can take a number of steps to address the challenges of developing the U.S. building industry’s workforce and improving the nation’s water safety and efficiency. Now is the time for action. Continuing to neglect these problems makes them exponentially more expensive to resolve. Implementing solutions will significantly impact the nation’s ability to thrive economically and socially. Through the Consultative Council and other cross-industry groups, the building industry stands ready to create actionable policies and practices that support improving the building industry workforce and the safe, efficient and responsible use of water.

About NIBS

National Institute of Building Sciences brings together labor and consumer interests, government representatives, regulatory agencies, and members of the building industry to identify and resolve problems and potential problems around the construction of housing and commercial buildings. NIBS is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. It was established by Congress in 1974. For more information, visit or follow @bldgsciences on Twitter and Facebook.

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