The construction industry continues to evolve and search for new ways to maximize their efforts and minimize building time. Some advancements in recent years have greatly changed the nature of construction. Below, we cover five recent trends that are having a significant impact on the industry and the methodologies of construction.
1. Advanced Technology
Technology continues to evolve and become more integrated into many aspects of our daily life. With the common purpose of making things more simple and efficient, technology has found a place in construction. Drone capabilities have allowed for easy construction management by greatly reducing the time and labor involved in surveying construction sites. Augmented reality has made projects much easier to design and visualize, by bringing a real-life copy of a construction project to mobile devices1. Mobile technology has given construction teams the ability to manage and plan projects in real-time. These advanced technologies have changed construction firms’ overall approach and have given rise to other trends that continue to help reduce completion time and with fewer errors.
2. Greater Attention to Safety Procedures
Advanced technology in the construction workflow has not only led to making projects more efficient but has also made them safer. Construction jobs have historically received some backlash for their risky work environment, resulting in a labor shortage2. However, new mobile apps have allowed construction teams to see potential safety hazards ahead of time and develop better procedures to address these potential hazards2. New developments like exoskeletons strap onto workers like a metal backpack suit, making injuries more avoidable and physical labor less strenuous. This emphasis on safety in construction will likely continue as labor demands remain high.
3. Project Management Software
Effective construction management software is vital for any firm to be competitive in today’s industry. Functions of common project management software include task distribution, time tracking, budgeting, resource planning, and more3. These software systems help companies organize and manage projects more effectively, allowing owners, general contractors, and architects to collaborate more effectively through cloud applications4. Given how much project management software simplifies construction, the relevance of these software systems will require workers to be more technologically savvy and able to easily navigate these softwares1.
4. Increased Prefabrication and Modular Projects
Looking at the manufacturing side, both prefabrication and modular construction techniques have risen in popularity due to the rising cost of building materials2. Building with prefabricated and modular pieces have proven to be highly efficient and help reduce material waste. New technological capabilities have also allowed for bigger prefabricated and modular pieces to be applied in projects1. Major construction firms continue to make efforts to build with as many prefabricated and modular pieces as possible. This results in a shorter overall building process which leads to less onsite rework, resulting in more profit for owners and contractors.
5. Sustainable Building Materials
In recent years, there has been a growing sense of environmental pressure put on all sorts of organizations across the globe. The construction industry specifically has shown evidence of this shift with new sustainable building and green construction trends emerging. One eco-friendly material being used in green construction is recycled plastic lumber. Made from HDPE plastic, this material is sought after for its strength, durability, and low maintenance characteristics. Useful for a variety of applications like boardwalks, fencing, playgrounds, marine construction, landscaping, and outdoor furniture, plastic lumber is a highly sustainable and reliable material.