It is not surprising that an overwhelming majority of people around the world said they were ready to move quickly into 2021 and leave behind all the memories of 2020. The start of a new year, however, brings a desire to look forward to new, emerging opportunities. With this in mind, we have developed a compilation of some of the current trends in the construction industry and some of the technologies and tools that seem to be here to stay.
1. Green Building: The movement has become so popular that energy and environmental design (LEED) leadership now certifies nearly 2 million square feet of construction space worldwide. Commercial offices claim the bulk of the green building market, with just over 20%.
2. Modular construction: With a completion rate that can be 20-50% faster, lower construction costs, and a significant reduction in errors and waste, it’s not surprising that more builders choose modular construction. The optimized manufacturing processes used in modular construction also reduce the approximately 135 million tons of construction and demolition waste each year.
3. Autonomous machines: We’ve all heard that autonomous cars will be certain in the future, but what about automated machinery on construction sites? This is what happens – and at faster paces than those built for the road. Look for stand-alone machines to become even more common throughout the construction industry.
4. Device communication: It’s not just phones and computers in the office. Increasingly, small, and large construction equipment is being wired to interact and communicate, bringing efficiency to the maximum, improving safety, and streamlining costs.
5. Wider use of renewable biofuels: Construction professionals industry wide are abandoning diesel as a source of electrical equipment. This trend could significantly reduce the industry’s carbon footprint in the future.
6. Electric utility vehicles: Just by switching to battery-powered electrical machinery, the construction industry could reduce its emissions by up to 95%. Improved charging solutions that reduce downtime, which have been one of the biggest barriers to switching, making the transition easier for many businesses.
7. Drones: They are used to gain visibility into progress on construction sites and now used as a proactive method to identify potential problems before construction begins.
8. Cloud-based BIM: Moving building information modeling to a cloud platform rather than on-site makes information available to all stakeholders in real time. Communication is more effective throughout each construction phase, with increased response time and greater ability to respond quickly to urgent situations.
9. Dimensions plus BIM: As the technology moves toward 4D, 5D and even 6D capabilities, companies will be able to significantly improve estimation and planning processes through better data access. With the ability to see geothermal, thermal, and acoustic properties, builders can be more proactive in planning and even use information to determine how these properties will affect a building before construction begins.
10. Increased use of artificial intelligence (AI): A growing number of companies are joining AI in promising to increase efficiency throughout the construction process – from materials production to design, planning and implementation. There are also many opportunities to use AI to streamline the distribution process, simplify price forecasting and optimize the logistics of transporting a job – all factors in reducing the time and costs of a project.
11. Augmented and virtual reality: The main advantages of these technologies in the construction industry is the ability to identify weak points in a structure before allowing on-site workers to significantly improve safety and reduce accidents. In addition, with the use of remotely operated machines used from remote locations, work may continue when adverse weather conditions could otherwise stop productivity or increase the risk of accidents.
12. Collaboration through Business Information Modelling (BIM): A company that adopts BIM also improves communications at all levels. BIM allows teams to work seamlessly, no matter where they are: people in the office can communicate with those on the site and even with those in another city or country, not only by phone, email or text message, but in a graphic and interactive way. Improved communication helps reduce completion times and work costs while improving overall quality.
13. Smart Cities: Construction and engineering team planning planners are increasingly working with city leaders to turn cities into “smart” cities. A smart city has strategies to increase the sustainability of its communities and to ensure that these communities are built for resilience during difficult times.
14. Declining profitability: The least positive trends in the industry is a decrease in the profitability of construction projects. This change is due to several factors, including increased competition in Asia, increased project complexity and growing supply chain issues. To compensate for losses, many companies are working diligently to improve their project management processes.
15. Public and commercial facilities as leaders in green buildings: as industrial expansion increases, commercial buildings are at the forefront of green building initiatives. This trend is reflected in almost every region of the world, with manufacturers implementing innovative solutions such as green roofs, living walls, passive solar design, recycled and sustainable insulation, direct current (dc) power and plant-based materials.
16. Strengthening green buildings in China: In recent years, China has entered the leading role in sustainable construction with more than 300 million square metres of green buildings throughout the country. China is notoriously quick to adopt and implement green building initiatives – and is expected to have more than half of the world’s ground space for green buildings by 2021.
17. Increased use of 3D printing: At a time when construction workers are in short supply, 3D printing helps fill some of the gap by automating many of the tasks that are usually performed manually. The benefits, however, are not limited to supplementing the workforce. 3D printing uses only the materials needed to print a structure, virtually eliminating waste, and reducing costs. In addition, 3D printers can operate 24 hours a day, allowing faster turnaround times and turnaround times.
18. Shortage of hourly workers: With labour shortage in the industry that has continued over the past decade, construction companies are struggling daily to limit the number of projects they can take and to increase the time it takes to complete the projects they begin. In response, many companies are finding that they are increasingly dependent on prefabricated and modular materials, which require less practical time.
19. Employment in the construction sector is on the rise: As mentioned earlier, the lack of artisanal workers has led companies to work harder to recruit employees, including by offering higher rates of pay and more incentives.
20. Increase in regulatory prices: The number of building codes applied has increased by almost 10% in recent years, which has inevitably increased the cost of construction. Many professionals are convinced that new codes and changes are not necessary and do not lead to productive results, resulting in a general sense of frustration within the industry.
21. Increased awareness of worker safety: Increased regulations have also been incorporated in the areas of worker safety. As a result, more construction companies are implementing technologically smart tools such as portable trackers and even work boots with sensors. Devices allow supervisors to track the location of team members, let them know when workers are tired or injured, and much more.
Taking into consideration the information above, Robertson remains steadfast to meet the ever-changing needs of building erectors and contractors. To find out more about how to keep up with current trends and stay above the competition, contact your local Robertson representative.