CONSTRUCTION TRENDS IMPACTING THE INDUSTRY IN 2020
Each year, innovations and issues emerge that impact the construction industry, and this year is no exception. If you operate a construction or remodeling business, stay mindful of these residential construction trends. Here are some interesting tech trends in construction industry in 2020.
More Technology Integration
Innovation is increasing as shown by advancements brought about by technology. For example, drones and 3D printing are now more prevalent than before, and may be further embraced by the construction industry in 2020.
It may be time for the building and remodeling industry to implement innovations that can specifically help to save money and improve productivity. Additionally, technology is at the core of the other four construction trends we will discuss further in this article. Adopting advancements into your business could mean you’re less impacted by negative 2020 construction trends.
Rather than using technology singularly, technology apps and programs are integrating with one another and providing the ability for users to manage nearly all areas of the construction project. This means less time attempting to master a number of software programs and more time to concentrate your time and energy on being an expert at just one.
Drones: While drone technology is not new, there is currently an increased access to drones. Today, drones are also more affordable and accessible. Survey entire subdivision or multiple job sites quickly, complete safety inspections, ensure materials are delivered and placed exactly how they should be, and so much more.
3D Printing: Another tech trend to watch out for in 2020 is the role of 3D printing in the construction industry. The benefits of it have already been explored and exploited by various construction companies around the world. Reduce overall construction costs by building homes first in 3D to make sure materials are properly sized.
The ability to either prefabricate offsite or directly on-site has obvious labor and material cost benefits over more traditional building methods. It also reduces waste and being automated is not restricted by construction worker shift patterns.
For example, today it’s possible to 3D print an entire house in less than 24 hours!
More and more companies are starting up in the sector to create new, innovative projects. Some are more futuristic, some are very real in the present. 3D concrete printing is developing rapidly and relies on different technologies and materials, offering many benefits to its users.
Mobile and Cloud Applications: Remotely access all information pertinent to multiple construction projects and job sites including drawings, delivery schedules and installation instructions.
BIM Technology (Building information modeling): Many commercial construction firms have used Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology for years, but experts agree BIM is growing in the residential sector, as it’s helping larger projects run more efficiently. Building Information Modelling, or BIM for short, is a process of creating and managing information on a construction project from cradle to grave. This intelligent 3D model-based process has already seen wide adoption by architects, engineers, and other construction professionals.
In fact, many local authorities have made BIM the standard for many of its construction project needs. BIM allows stakeholders and suppliers to more efficiently plan, design construct and manage a building and its infrastructure.
Increase in Off-Site, Prefabrication and Modular Construction Projects
Project management software is specifically developed to perform different tasks, from designing a building to managing a construction site. This software provides various benefits to a construction company, including transparency, efficiency and accountability.
With material prices in flux and the labor market continuing to tighten, off-site and pre-construction practices make sense for construction firms looking to cut overall costs, improve productivity and shorten their construction timelines. The controlled factory environment improves construction safety by eliminating a lot of the hazards common on traditional construction sites
Increased Safety Equipment
Another construction industry trend that will continue into 2020 is the improving standards and use of better safety equipment products.
Safety trends in construction are utilizing similar technology advancements that you are experiencing in your personal life, such as fitness trackers as wearable technology. Items like wearables and work boots connect to Wi-Fi and send GPS coordinates to supervisors, alerting them if workers have fallen or are too tired. While this technology will take time to be more commonplace, other advancements such as moisture-wicking fabric and cooling vests are now available to help keep workers safe. As more women join the construction industry, employers need to ensure personal protection equipment (PPE) properly fit all employees, including women.
Increased Regulatory Burdens
Regulatory burdens on land and lot development is impacting prices.
The labor crisis is neither new trending, but it continues to impact the other trends, as well as overall housing affordability. There is a continuing sign for the need for additional worker recruitment into the industry.
The design-build or integrated project delivery approach
The design-build approach, or Integrated Project Delivery, provides a means for clients to contract a sole entity to compose, plan, and construct a project. Streamlining the process results in faster project delivery timelines and lower costs.
More advanced materials
One of the highest advanced construction materials is self-healing concrete. Micro-encapsulated agents like polyurethane or epoxy may also soon be added to a variety of building materials to mimic the self-repair process.
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) Building information
BIM is a construction industry trend that will continue growing, the article reports. The tool is a process of imagining and managing simulation project renderings before they are approved for construction. VR and AR complement BIM since they can present computer-aided design in a tangible manner. Additionally, it may become a standard practice to train staff using VR and AR.
These technologies are already making a huge impact on many industries around the world, and the construction industry is no exception. Buildings are becoming ever more complicated, and these technologies are helping architects and construction teams improve designs and detect design errors.
To date, architects and design teams greatly improve building design through interactive design and gesture interfacing. 2020 is set to see this technology’s influence on the industry expand even further.
AR, VR, and MR are also being utilized in the construction industry to aid:
- 3D modeling of buildings and structures.
- Helping improve and innovate BIM visualization.
- It helps provide a permanent record of the building and allows clients to explore designs before construction.
- Helping “see through walls” for maintenance workers and service engineers.
2020 may also be the year where robotics makes a bigger impact in the construction industry. Somewhat linked to the impact of 3D printing above, robotics is also seeing impressive infiltration into the industry.
From robotic bricklayers to laying roads, robots are increasingly finding their place among the workforce on construction sites. This is interesting as traditionally the construction industry has seen very little automation, relying largely on manual labor.
By adding robots to the workforce, construction companies are seeing improved construction times and improved quality of builds. Robots are also being used to help demolish buildings too.
While currently slower than human demolition crews, they are far safer and cheaper for bringing down concrete structures at the end of its life cycle. Robots are also being developed to help with certain building maintenance like window cleaning.
For several decades now, building regulations have been placing more and more burden on building design to reduce their environmental impact and sustainability. This is a trend that will only become more strict heading into 2020 and beyond.
Optimized energy efficiency and a drive for low to zero carbon emissions have driven innovation in building construction and service design for years. In response, new, better thermal performance materials are being developed that promise to make the buildings of the future incredibly well insulated for a fraction of the cost of current solutions.
One example from a few years ago was the development of a concrete roof that can generate and store energy. Innovations like this should make buildings of the future cheaper to live in and reduce their impact on the environment.
Reducing waste or recycling old materials is another area where sustainability is helping drive innovation in the construction industry. For example, last year one architecture firm announced its plans for a new method of recycling construction waste into ton new reusable building materials. It will be interesting to see what new innovations will be realized in 2020.
Modular and Prefabricated Construction
Modular and prefabricated solutions are nothing new to the construction industry. For example, the end of the Second World War saw something of a ‘Cambrian Explosion’ in prefab design in war-torn cities across the UK.
While it has fallen out of favor over the last few decades, prefabs have been making something of a comeback in recent years. The promise of faster on-site assembly and higher quality, standardized builds are seen by some as the solution to tackle perceived housing crises around the world.
Advances in high-tech design and construction mean increasing numbers of components can be manufactured off-site. That means buildings can go up more quickly and quietly, with fewer materials wasted. To accommodate modular house-building, developers are building their own factories, and architects are getting ever more ambitious in their designs.
Another tech trend to watch in 2020 is the use of exoskeletons. The potential benefits this can afford to a construction site’s workforce are obvious.
Laborers can carry more load than their fragile human bodies would normally be able to cope with, and if it is widely adopted, it would largely increase the safety of construction sites. For construction companies, this will dramatically improve their bottom line by reducing the number of laborers needed on-site as well as reduce lost man-hours from injury.
But they may ultimately lose out to robots and 3D printing alternatives as exoskeletons still rely on a human operator at their heart. That being said, they might offer the perfect compromise between labor unions who will inevitably try to protect their member’s jobs from becoming obsolete.
As the construction industry is constantly evolving, it’s essential to stay up to date on product trends that help you stay competitive and offset additional costs. Take extra care to select products that reduce installation time or completely eliminate steps all together.
As other technologies already mentioned, like AR and VR, become more popular, Their integration with BIM will become more important. This is unlikely to slow down in 2020 and beyond.