As we are nearing 2020, it’s time to take a look at construction industry trends over the past decade and keep up with new and emerging trends in the industry. Keeping on top of trends in the construction industry not only helps keep your company from falling behind, but it helps you prepare for the future. There are some trends that continue year after year, and some up-and-coming advancements being made fresh constantly in the industry.
2019 has been an interesting year for the construction industry, with many changes to supply routes and technology. With the continuing growth and evolution of the construction industry, companies must stay up-to-date if they want to remain competitive. We compiled a list of the top trends in 2019 that we believe will be key advancements in the construction industry through 2020. #powertothetrades!
Here are 10 construction industry trends that will shape the industry in 2020:
1. Construction Management Software
The construction industry has been notoriously slow to jump into technology; however, these construction industry trends are here to stay. Construction project management software is getting increasingly more advanced and easy to integrate on the job site. Many project management solutions are bundling scheduling, project management, and timekeeping in order to better serve construction companies. As these project management solutions get more advanced, they will continue to be a rising trend in the industry in 2020.
Technological advancements in the construction industry aren’t limited to just software. Drone usage is becoming increasingly popular with construction companies as the technology advances and becomes more affordable. Drones, sometimes referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), are useful on construction sites for surveying the job site and ensuring workers are kept out of potentially dangerous situations. Drone usage is increasing safety, accuracy, and efficiency on the job site and has the additional benefit of gathering information for survey data.
Not only is the technology itself getting upgraded, but there are also starting to be more options available. These options give contractors the ability to get drones and other construction technologies at reasonable prices with features bespoke to their needs. Technological advancements and integrations are a rising construction industry trend that will definitely carry over into 2020.
3. Green Technology
Green construction is a growing field in construction, as increasingly more buildings and plans are looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into the construction process. Green construction refers to the building of projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient way. It covers all stages of a project, from planning and design to construction, maintenance, and demolition.
The construction industry accounts for about 20% of global emissions. However, with crumbling buildings and an expanding population, there is a clear need for more buildings. By constructing environmentally friendly buildings and focusing on longevity and sustainability, construction companies can create a win-win situation: a building that is both economically and environmentally efficient.
Other green construction trends that are gaining traction in the industry include carbon scrubbing building facades, bricks made of recycled cigarette butts, thermally driven air conditioners and asphalt that will heal itself. These sustainable trends are only a fraction of the advancements being made in green construction and are surely here to stay in 2020.
4. Modular and Prefabricated Construction
Part of the construction industry trends we’ll continue to see into 2020 will include the popularity of modular and prefabricated construction projects. Modular construction companies are making waves in the industry because of the significantly expedited rate at which they can build residential and commercial buildings. In fact, the modular construction market has a projected annual growth rate of 6.9%, being valued at up to $157 billion by 2023.
Modular construction is a prefabricated approach to building repetitive structures, so office buildings, hotels, apartments, and other commercial buildings are great for modular and prefabricated buildings. The B1M released a video detailing the creation of a hotel in New York using entirely prefabricated pieces, learn more about it here:
Prefabricated and modular construction are rising trends because of the time, energy, and cost savings it provides. Modular construction saves companies a significant amount of time and money because units are built off-campus, meaning companies do not have to deal with usual barriers to construction such as weather or limited working hours. The units also recycle material that ends up being unused or excess. This helps cut back on waste and make the building process more sustainable, which is another rising trend in the industry. Modular construction is a huge rising trend because of the time, energy, and cost savings associated with it, and is sure to keep gaining popularity through 2020.
5. Safety Equipment
Another construction industry trend that will continue into 2020 is the standards and use of better safety equipment products. Due to the hiring number of accidents and deaths related to construction, it’s clear that there will be a push for better safety equipment.
There are a pair of work boots that can connect to Wi-Fi, send GPS coordinates, and can even tell if users have fallen or are tired. While these smart boots may be hard to get now, they could eventually be a commonplace item on the job site. There is also more plausible technology being implemented, such as the use of moisture-wicking fabric and cooling vests. These are just a few of many new equipment advancements that will help keep more of the workers safe on a site and bring about a new era in construction safety.
6. Project Management Solutions
Along with the countless technological advances being made, construction project management software is a trend that will surely carry into 2020. The number of companies producing their own modules for current project management solutions has increased within the last couple of years. So too has the number of companies that are creating construction project management solutions.
Company owners have better software options than were available even just a couple of years ago. Not only are the user interfaces designed to be more user-friendly, but there are a plethora of options to choose from. Project management solutions now have features such as time solutions, equipment rentals, and change orders in addition to traditional project management options. With all of these changes, it is easier for construction companies to manage their projects. Project management software can keep all documents related to the project in one location, which can help subcontractors and contractors get paid at the end of a project.
While sustainability might seem like the same trend as green technology, green technologies are products that can better or create a carbon-neutral footprint. But sustainability is part of the methods and business models that make the world a better place.
Sustainable construction includes the preservation of the environment and efficient use of resources with a focus on social progress and culture. These can include methods such as buildings designed to allow natural light to reach the middle of the building to reduce electrical costs or buildings that reuse water from the sinks in the toilets.
Sustainable construction goes beyond everyday efforts such as using LED bulbs or recycling; it entails starting from the source and constructing an entire building to be energy-efficient and cost-effective. The importance of long-term sustainable construction in our current social climate is indisputable. A sustainable future is part of the construction industry trends that will continue into 2020.
8. Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling, or BIM, is another growing construction industry trend that will carry over into 2020. BIM is a way of representing buildings, roads, and utilities through computer-generated images to help contractors visualize a construction process before it is built.
Architects and engineers can use the models to visualize how building materials will hold up over time. If a subcontractor can visualize their part of the project before beginning work, they can accurately estimate how much of a specific material is needed. This visualization capability reduces the amount of wasted time, labor, and materials on a project.
A construction project designed with BIM helps subcontractors identify areas for energy improvement and usage throughout the building. This helps the planners optimize energy levels to reduce long term costs of running the building. Additionally, energy model capabilities allow subcontractors to perform what-if tests to determine the correct energy and water requirements for the building, helping reduce waste and overall building costs.
BIM technology is both economically and environmentally beneficial to the construction industry. Using BIM is a crucial transitionary tool for firms to move towards sustainable construction methods, and it has a significant ROI in terms of long-term cost. BIM technology helps subcontractors analyze their current building methods and gives them the tools to develop new, more sustainable practices that are tailor-made to each building design to optimize building efficiency.
9. Virtual/ Augmented Reality
Virtual reality has been around for a few years now, but the construction industry is finding a plethora of new applications for it in 2019 that are sure to be used in the future. Virtual reality allows users to experience complex logistics first-hand to get a more accurate gauge of the project. It helps provide a digital visualization of our real world with added data to augment the experience and allows for a 360-degree view of the project.
10. Rising Costs and Labor Shortages
Not all of the trends in the construction industry are looking upwards. Increasing material costs is one of the unfortunate construction industry trends that will continue into 2019. With more temperate weather and longer daylight hours comes an increase in demand for both materials and labor, driving up the price for both. The construction industry is facing an increase in construction costs year after year, making profit margins slimmer than ever. Additionally, construction material costs are facing a year-round pricing increase, rising nearly 5% during the 2018 calendar year.
Nearly 80% of respondents to a survey in August 2017 report that firms are having difficulty filling hourly craft worker positions. With the shortage of labor and rising demand for materials, the construction industry faces an unavoidable increase in construction costs in 2020. However, firms can minimize the impact of these rising costs and maximize their profit margins by streamlining their construction processes.
There are nearly a quarter of a million unfilled construction jobs in the United States, and that number doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon. The main issue with it is that there is a boom in the number of projects that need to be built, but the rate of production has slowed or stalled due to the labor shortage. Companies are turning to modular and prefabricated construction in order to make project deadlines with fewer workers, but this solution is only a temporary one to manage the dwindling number of workers.
Throughout 2019, there has been a rise in several new trends in the construction industry. Some of these trends will play an instrumental part in construction throughout 2020. As the construction industry is constantly evolving, it is essential to stay up to date with these trends to stay competitive.