Construction demand has grown steadily the past few years and, by most accounts, that trend will continue through 2015. So to meet the demand, firms across the country are prepared to bring in the necessary help—or at least as much help as there is to be had.

The Associated General Contractors of America recently released its 2015 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, in which it surveyed more than 900 firms throughout the United States. The results showed that “an overwhelming majority of firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2015,” according to the report.

Eighty percent of firms reported that they plan to expand their payrolls this year, which would be a relatively significant bump from last year, when only 57 percent of firms reported they added staff. Additionally, in 2014, 18 percent of firms reduced staff, while only 7 percent expect to reduce headcounts in 2015.

The association did, however, note “a number of significant challenges” that face the industry. First and foremost is the much-discussed growing shortage of qualified workers—especially craft workers—to fill positions as they’re made available. The survey revealed contractors consider “the apparent poor quality of local craft worker training programs” to be a main culprit of the shortage.

“Among respondents that were trying to hire workers, 87 percent report having a hard time filling key professional and craft worker positons,” the outlook reads. Additionally, contractors raised concerns about the impact rising health care costs, as well as a host of new federal regulatory measures, could have on their operations.

Despite that, a majority of contractors remain optimistic, particularly in terms of demand in private sector construction. The retail/warehouse/lodging segment saw the most optimism in the survey, with other nonresidential construction prospects such as private office and the hospital sector seeing “net positive” readings of 20 percent or more.

Meanwhile, different regions reported varying degrees of optimism based on sector. For example higher education construction was a big positive in the Western region, while the hospital sector saw its most positive readings in the South.

And as demand continues to increase, many firms expect to expand their geographical reach. Forty-four percent of firms that were surveyed plan to pursue new projects outside their traditional market area this year, according to the report.