2020 was a turbulent year of changing expectations. However, 2021 shows signs of growth and reemergence in the construction industry. The never-ending labor shortages and rising construction costs challenge the construction industry to reduce the margin for errors and material wastage while innovating and adopting new ideas. While that is all fine and dandy, the Coronavirus has changed how the construction industry conducts business, from hiring workers to scheduling to meeting with clients to closing projects. When looking ahead, we see that most industry trends will be affected by the side effects of the ongoing pandemic.
Furthermore, new technologies have also impacted how the construction sector improves profit margins, completes big projects, and enhances safety on the site. Moreover, these trends are changing the roles of frontline workers and industry professionals. So, as the market shifts and the construction industry becomes more competitive, considering these trends will be crucial for any business owner/investor in the sector. That said, listed below are a few construction trends to watch out for.
There is a higher demand for suitable protection equipment
The pandemic has dramatically changed how the construction industry sees safety and protection. In fact, it has already affected construction site guidelines via new state and federal regulations that focus more on strict safety protocols and cleanliness.
Also, workers are now encouraged to remain at the construction site and avoid going home to prevent the spread of infections. As a result, construction firms are encouraged to invest in shipping containers that can double up as makeshift accommodation for their on-site workers. You can fire up your internet browser and Google 'strong shipping containers for sale' to review options and make a purchase.
To ensure safety, it is also important to use high-quality heavy construction machinery like compaction equipment, bulldozer, etc. This will not help you maintain a safe and secure construction site throughout.
Furthermore, the construction industry is also seeing an influx of machines and equipment capable of determining and eliminating common construction site safety issues one at a time. Moreover, wearable tech is also making its way into the construction industry via workers' boots that can connect to other workers' phones via Wi-Fi to alert them if someone falls and injures themselves.
There is an increased requirement for skilled labor
One of the most noticeable trends in the past couple of years is an ever-growing need for good quality labor. After all, such labor type is competitive, expensive, and only choose to work in top construction firms. That said, robots are picking up the slack in most areas. However, these robots cannot replace highly trained, educated workers who can interpret and manage data produced by new technology itself. After all, robots don't have a mind of their own and need human beings to operate them efficiently.
Fortunately, women laborers are also stepping in to fill this void. In fact, according to the BLS, around 10.9% of construction jobs are occupied by women. However, the latest construction industry hiring trends show that there will be a 94% growth in female workers, especially in female-owned construction companies.
Mobile access to construction sites is a thing now
Mobile technology and applications make it easy for project managers and construction workers to remain connected to their construction sites. These technologies provide accurate information via smartphone cameras, on-site accountability, real-time construction site inspection, and much more. Such a thing is down to the Coronavirus mandating the construction teams continue to communicate and collaborate with minimal physical connections to teammates, spaces, or even construction materials.
For example, technologies developed by AECOM allows projects managers and workers to conduct public meeting virtually to reduce the need for physical meeting and eliminate the spread of Covid-19. Other technologies include asset management software such as Infotycoon and measuring assistants such as AirMeasure. In the end, construction companies that fail to adopt these technologies in these ever-changing times will be at a sales and productivity disadvantage moving forward.
Material costs are on the rise
According to the Association of General Contractors, the construction industry experienced a 5% increase in the producer price index for construction goods by November 2020. Moreover, rising interest rates are likely to add to this 5 percent raise. However, BIM, Augmented Reality, and drones will prove vital to counteracting this cost pressure.
That said, technologies and innovative materials might push up costs even further, even though they ultimately offer savings in the long haul. Some of these innovative materials are 3D graphene, invisible solar cells, light-generating concrete, transparent aluminum, and self-healing concrete, to name a few.
Construction management software is a must-have these days
Comprehensive construction management software is a critical tool for building a valuable construction business, increasing operational efficiency, maintaining quality assurance and quality control, and remaining competitive in today's challenging construction market. That said, while every construction management software offers different features, the best ones allow you to tackle end-to-end needs, including sharing files with mobile teams, compiling construction data, managing payroll, and everything in between.
Some construction management software include Quickbase, ProjectSight, Buildertrend, CoConstruct, and RedTeam, to name a few. Purchasing the right construction management software is vital for your construction business. So, start by looking at ones that allow you easy integration with your existing technologies and offer an easy-to-use interface. Moreover, don't forget to consider the software's scalability. Lastly, look for customizable options, additional features, and availability of training and support to get your construction business off the ground.
Smart cities are here
Large tech companies like Cisco, Microsoft, and IMB invest their time and money to build sustainable, smart cities. However, these cities are more interconnected and intricate than most projects. They require intense development and planning before they are constructed. A few examples of such smart megaprojects include; Hudson Yards in New York City, the Songdo International Business District in South Korea, and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in India.
The cost of these projects ranges from tens of billions to hundreds of billions of dollars. Such projects aim to improve infrastructure, positively influence the world economy, and contribute to the environment.
The construction industry trends mentioned above are drastically changing the global market. Lack of skilled labor and rising material prices will be present even in the coming decade. Moreover, regulations will also become stricter with intense accountability for construction site safety. However, developers and builders can invest in new construction projects, leverage new technologies, and adopt new operational practices. Doing so will allow them to win more significant projects, reduce risk, and most importantly, enjoy higher profits!