Change comes slowly to the construction industry as builders often stick with what they know best to lower their risks. But change does come, and the current shortage of skilled labor is one factor encouraging builders to use products that make tighter, more energy-efficient building enclosures in less time.

Industry analysts call it “multi-functionality” or the “systems approach,” but the result is enhanced sheathing, insulation and weather-resistive barriers that help builders do more in less time by combining several steps into one. At the same time, manufacturers are introducing products that help builders meet growing expectations for tighter, better-insulated enclosures.

“There is a shortage of construction workers in the United States,” says Nancy Musselwhite, an industry analyst with Principia. “Anything you can do to take time off the application of a product—if you can combine two products into one, if you can make it go faster, if you cant take labor out—a builder is likely to look at it.”

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