Welding is a fabrication process that joins materials together through the application of high levels of heat. It’s a major part of construction and most buildings cannot be erected without the involvement of this activity. As a result, welding contractors experience high levels of demand in the construction industry.
The main purpose of welding is to create a strong connection that can support high levels of resistance. This objective is accomplished by melting the extreme ends of the parts to be connected before hammering them together to essentially form a single unit. Welding is a skilled trade and most experienced experts will possess some form of recognized certification to their name.
The welding market
According to Fortune Business Insights, the US welding market was valued at $20 billion in 2020, which represented 3.6% growth. Welding was one of the few industries to experience measurable growth despite the COVID 19 pandemic. A 4.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is forecasted between 2021 and 2028, with the market predicted to grow to an estimated $28 billion by then.
One of the major reasons behind the growth in demand for welding contractors is their application in the construction industry. Builders dealing with carbon steel products in their construction will need professional welders in the development and erection of the steel frame. Steel has become a popular feature in modern architecture, meaning almost all contractors require a welder on their team.
The construction industry is expected to grow in the coming years so there’s likely to be an increased demand for welders in this market. A Wells Fargo report published in 2021 predicted the residential sector would effectively support the construction industry during the pandemic. Studies by Research and Markets forecasted that the US construction industry would experience a 3.1% growth in 2022.
Another major reason that demand for welding contractors has risen in the construction sector is a shortage in the supply of these skilled traders. A report published by the AWS (American Welding Society) predicted that 2020 would experience a shortage of over two million welders. Finding qualified welders has become a difficult task in recent times, especially when seeking certified practitioners.
Why welders are in such high demand
Welding is an essential part of the construction, with nearly every high-rise building consisting of thousands of metal joints that need to be fused together. The creation of structural frameworks in such buildings is virtually impossible without the inclusion of a welder. Some of the primary components that require welding include:
- Erection of columns
- Joining Steel I-beams
- Constructing trusses and footers
- Fabricating additional components
- Housing internal systems
Structural welding is primarily employed in high-rise buildings, but welders also play a significant role in smaller constructions. These artisans are responsible for fabricating non-structural components such as floor joists, handrails, stairs, and firewalls. Welders also work with other experts in the construction industry to set up plumbing, electrical, fuel and ventilation systems.
Most established construction firms insist on hiring certified welders, which is another major reason there is a rise in demand. Although people can weld without a certificate, having a license proves an individual’s professional capabilities. Working on major structural buildings requires experts who have been adequately trained in their profession, as any mistake can prove disastrous for the entire project.
Technological advancements have led to the rise of alternative solutions to welding contractors. The implementation of AI and IoT (Internet of Things) has allowed some welding requirements to switch from human intervention to automated systems. However, this is not highly applicable in the construction industry as some of the welding needs involved cannot integrate these systems into a portable format.