What Increasing Home Construction Means for Electricians
November 29, 2021
In October 2021, almost 260,000 permits to build new homes were issued in the U.S., a 4% increase over September 2021, and the most in a single month since 1978.
This is largely in response to skyrocketing demand, with builders playing catch up. With hundreds of thousands of homes planned to be built in the near future, electricians have ample opportunities to further their careers.
Why are residential construction permits on the rise, and can builders keep up?
Economists point to the pandemic as the biggest contributing factor. Many people are relocating to areas with lower costs of living. One survey found that more than 50% of Bay Area residents—who live in one of the most expensive regions on Earth—plan to relocate within the next few years.
The desire to move has put pressure on the housing market. Demand is up. Housing supply is down. This has caused housing prices to soar. In July 2021, prices went up a record 19.7%.
Home builders have stepped up to try and meet this demand. But the truth is, builders can’t build fast enough. Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, says:
Usually you’d say, ‘if there isn’t enough inventory, the construction industry will provide the rest,’ but the challenge is, we already went into this pandemic constrained by labor and land.
So, the number of new homes planned to be built is the highest it has ever been, as evidenced by the 260,000 new permits issued in October 2021. But actually starting construction requires labor, material, and equipment—which builders have limited access to as the supply chain is constrained.
That said, the construction industry is doing everything it can to keep up. Over 1.28 million new, privately owned residential housing units were built in 2020, the most since 2007. Builders are working hard to meet demand. And they need ample labor to do so.
The current labor market favors electricians.
An increase in residential construction, both now and in the future, is a great sign for licensed electricians. Electricians are indispensable to the home construction process, for obvious reasons.
The type of work electricians do differs on a per-home basis. In general, electricians wire an entire home before the walls go up, and return toward the end of the project to put the finishing touches on everything electrical.
Here is a list of of the type of work electricians perform on new homes:
- Run wire throughout the home before walls go up
- Prepare electrical hookups for appliances
- Install lighting
- Hook up heating and cooling systems
- Wire hot water heaters
- Install caps, outlet plates, and switches
- Connect all fixed appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.)
- Install home automation devices
In addition to the above, and in California specifically, electricians are also required to help with the installation of solar panels. The state of California mandated in 2020 that all newly built houses have solar.
Electricians are a big part of the new home construction process. And right now, new homes are being built as quickly as possible. More homes are planned to be built in the near future than ever before. Supply chain shortages are one of the factors forcing builders to delay construction.
If you are interested in becoming an electrician, now is a great time. You must first complete vocational training. I-TAP offers a 26-week electrical trainee program that gets you the experience needed to earn your trainee card and join the workforce. Get in touch today to learn how to enroll and get more information about class schedules!
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.