The Year Ahead in Building Trends
With stricter safety regulations, rising building material costs, shifting consumer demands, and other factors, it’s critical for builders to stay current on industry trends to remain competitive. We’ve put together several of the top construction industry trends to watch for.
Safety on the Job.
Contractors donned face masks long before the pandemic, but with COVID-19 and its different variants, these coverings have become standard practice. In addition, onsite temperature scans, regular coronavirus testing, stricter workplace cleanliness, and other safety protocols are among the health practices now employed at jobsites.
Worker safety also involves keeping contractors out of harm’s way from potential accidents and injuries. According to “Green Builder,” expect to see increased utilization of drones to inspect hard-to-access areas. Robots are being used to handle injury-inducing tasks such as bricklaying and scaffolding construction. Environmental sensors are used to monitor weather, like wind and precipitation, as well as temperature changes, like extreme heat. The sensors provide warnings to evacuate construction workers and move costly construction equipment in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.
Better Project Management with Technology.
Smart technology is available for project participants – from the owner/developer to the general contractor (GC) and vendors – to utilize a shared platform to purchase, track, and pay for services, enabling improved project management, an automated supply chain, and a streamlined construction process. In addition, access to information and data insights in real time facilitates actionable and quick decision making among all project stakeholders.
Women Breaking Ground in the Construction Industry.
Expect to see more women enter the construction industry in the coming years. According to the Department of Labor, female-owned construction firms saw a 94% growth from 2007 to 2018. In addition, a significant portion of female executives and construction managers have entered leadership roles in the last five years. Generation Z should add to the talent pipeline as trade schools make a concerted effort to target this segment.
Rooftops Go Green.
According to “Green Builder,” living roofs are becoming more important and popular for homebuyers. A living roof on a building is planted with vegetation and includes a root barrier, drainage, and an irrigation system. The environmental benefits of a living roof are many, including reducing heating and cooling, providing insulation from noise, reducing storm water runoff, and filtering pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air, among others.
The Future of Pre-Fab.
High housing costs and the demand for home ownership have made modular homes an option for many. Modular homes are less expensive, are eco-friendly to build, use less energy while occupied, and are easy to recycle and deconstruct at the end of their lifespan. Tax credits are also available, as modular homes can be recognized as a green form of building.
The pandemic, mounting sustainability commitments, resource constraints, and continued urban growth are making a new case for investment in smart cities. A smart city in theory uses connected technology and data to improve the efficiency of city service delivery, enhance quality of life for all, and increase equity and prosperity for residents and businesses. Technology advances such as 5G, AI, cloud, and edge computing (a form of computing that is done on-site or near a particular data source) are helping to drive the evolution of smart cities. An example of a smart city is Hudson Yards in New York City, which was imagined as a marriage of digital and physical with an emphasis on the arts and culture in addition to the day-to-day operations.