Fresh construction trends emerge every year with the advancements of new technologies and improved building processes. The overall construction industry perspective for 2021 varies by region and country, with GlobalData prediction of 3.2% growth for the sector worldwide. That’s the slowest progress in a decade, but the industry is not stagnant everywhere. Even though the Middle East countries are in a downturn, Chinese officials are boosting their infrastructure investments to prevent similar circumstances.
Out With The Old, In With The New
The construction industry in 2021 is undergoing a significant paradigm shift. Looking back over the history of projects of the recent years in the construction spectrum, we notice some significant technological developments have occurred.
While this abrupt change shifted a lot in the construction sector practices, it also forced the critical players in the industry to elevate their approach and be more innovative. Adjustments to the industry will have to be made, and a part of those will be for the better. As the end of the year comes near, and we look forward to a new year, let’s take a look at the notable trends that will change the way we built.
Building For Tomorrow
Advanced Planning and Design
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a widely-used intelligent 3D model-based tool in the construction sector. BIM is considered a significant first step in the digital transformation of the industry. It allowed projects to survive in a virtual and digital environment, even when the team members could not meet in person. This collaborative approach enables the data to be shared across various businesses and disciplines and supervises smarter construction proceedings.
Other technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) can further improve the construction design process. They use massive data and complex algorithms to form standardized designs at a pace. The final output can be evaluated on virtual platforms in terms of cost and viability, the developer’s inputs, and the local environment. This implies that decisions and commitments can be created in the early planning stage, which will quicken the whole process.
1. Safer and Cleaner Construction Sites
The construction industry was never known for its outstanding safety track record. Every year, construction dominates workplace fatalities and requires a considerable number of job site accidents and injuries.
Due to more innovative methods rising in the construction market to substitute manual labor, fewer human resources are needed on-site. With fewer people on construction sites, it would be easier for the foreman, safety officers, and project superintendents to supervise workers and ensure all the safety rules and regulations on-site. This will also force safety managers to incorporate training into their safety programs and plans to prepare for unforeseen circumstances in the future.
We can expect increased diligence on cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection on construction sites. Hopefully, this will continue in the future so the workers can prevent the spread of other common diseases in construction, such as respiratory problems.
2. More Predictable and Faster Timeline for Projects
With smart digital technologies and prefabricated construction, project schedules and completions can be halved compared to conventional building methods.
Traditional building projects always increase costs and lengthen schedules caused by unanticipated events such as bad weather and supply issues. Contrarily, projects that incorporate factory-made components tend to be more predictable as the weather does not influence them. Modular construction and prefab building, which was already steadily rising, should see a considerable boost in interest by 2021.
With the 20% saving in construction cost, and up to 20-50% faster completion time of projects, it is understandable why modular materials are becoming more popular. Furthermore, developing countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States West Coast, Australia, and Singapore are likely to become the new hotspots for this building approach. This is as a result of the lack of labor and housing in those countries.
Prefabricated buildings acquire the dual advantage of the affordability and its potentially temporary characteristic. During times of uncertainty, quick solutions are often the best options. Modular construction is a trend that is not going anywhere.
3. Cultivating Sustainability
The construction sector is presumptively responsible for 35% – 45% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, making it a principal contributor to global warming. With international commitments to combat climate change and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the industry needs to adopt more sustainable methods. Transitioning to prefabrication is one of the solutions.
Manufacturing construction component in a factory has been revealed to reduce emissions by up to 6% compared to traditional construction. One major factor is the sudden decline in traffic movements by up to 40%. While conventional building sites require a constant flow of vehicles for delivering supplies and shipping out waste, factories schedule deliveries early to minimize traffic. Consequently, adopting prefab construction can also scale down waste by up to 90% compared to traditional buildings.
4.Utilizing Drone Technology
Many construction sites are already highly-dependent on drone technology for their on-site operations. Drones equip construction teams with an overhead view of work sites, materials, equipment, and people. Contractors incorporate this autonomous flying machine to record images and videos to help optimize processes like grading plans and identify differences between actual and as-built site plans.
As drone tech continues to develop rapidly in its precision and accuracy of its reading, even less human involvement will be needed in the future. In the past, many companies are hesitant to adapt to this tool because they still needed a controller. Yet, as this technology becomes more efficient overtime, more businesses are adhering to it.
5. Adoption of Project Management Software
Raising efficiency while ensuring the workers’ safety on the job site has always been the top priority of construction project managers. Cloud-based and virtual project management platforms rapidly emerged as a possible way to reach this goal. Even though some firms had already adopted this tool to their business, they become essential for managing a project, especially during this time where remote management is more advocated.
Cloud-based project management software, like Pro Crew Schedule, has enabled managers to migrate most in-person tasks and activities to a digital format. Now, almost all aspects of a job can be made accessible through a phone or tablet. Even the contractors and subcontractors can easily access updated blueprints, photos, and videos while also scheduling tasks remotely, restricting how many workers are needed on-site and shorten the time they need to be there. Through project management platforms, managers can track the construction’s progress and mitigate issues in a day without leaving their offices and homes’ comfort.
6. Changing Construction Market Trends
Due to the changing times, demands for particular projects have dropped dramatically, while some have seen increases. The demands for new movie theaters, retail buildings, restaurants, and hotels have been down, while bridges, roads, highways, and others have increased over the past year.
These major shifts in the construction industry cause contractors to be more attentive to the current market trends and modify their bidding and job procurement approach. Construction firms that specialize in certain building types may have to broaden their preferences and be not as picky in the projects they go for. Contractors focused on public projects may have to start looking at private works and vice versa.
The contractors will also begin to be more competitive post-pandemic since they will be bidding for fewer projects. This might also lead to contractors transitioning to new project management strategies, such as lean construction, to ensure that the projects they successfully get will be delivered within budget and in a timely manner.
7. The Rise of Robotics in Construction
Robotics has infiltrated the construction industry in recent years. More and more companies adopt autonomous machines and software for on-site construction, transporting building materials, and identifying risk factors.
For instance, construction vehicles such as cranes and excavators are equipped with software packages for minimizing human supervisions during the process. The software also features location tracking, signal transmission, and automatic movement for increased construction operations productivity. Furthermore, robotics is also helpful for analyzing data and discovering valuable insights regarding your ongoing and future projects.
The adaptation of digital construction technology to innovate the traditional processes will leave an extreme and lasting impact on the entire industry, 2021 and beyond. With the additional options to coordinate virtually, project managers can streamline their project to expand building preferences and upgrade their strategies. Furthermore, this would also help you outpace your competitors in the industry and increase your market base worldwide.
Even though it is impossible to predict what lies ahead in the construction industry’s future, we can make educated guesses and review history for guidance for our next steps. However, we are reasonably confident that to stay ahead in the game, embracing construction trends is the only option for increased productivity, attracting more works, and completing projects more efficiently. There is no other way.