From sustainable design to the latest in technology, here are a few of the biggest trends in the construction industry in 2018.
Green and Sustainable Design
As more people get on the recycling, reusing, and rethinking bandwagon, clients will start expecting contractors to implement sustainable practices as well.
The cost of building using sustainable practices and materials finally went down. Solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable approaches have come a long way. Requests for green and sustainable elements will increase as clients recognize the savings these investments will yield down the road.
Offsite and/or Hybrid Construction
Less than a decade ago, most construction projects were modular or onsite. Nowadays, hybrid projects are very common. As contractors partner with prefab companies to save on cost and increase efficiency, more and more are including offsite construction elements into their plans.
Suppliers are also looking to the future with the offsite construction segment in mind. Until recently, many had not created product lines specifically for offsite. Now, suppliers are creating special lines for this market to help streamline operations.
Those firms that were early to incorporate technology into their daily operations are already reaping the benefits. Construction technology is making great strides to resolve some of the industry’s major problems, such as productivity, safety and labor shortages.
Drones, robots and autonomous equipment are slowly replacing skilled workers to reduce safety hazards and handle monotonous, repetitive tasks. Project management, billing and customer service processes are also transforming thanks to digital apps that streamline processes and allow for greater efficiency.
VR and AR
Virtual and augmented reality are already being used in construction sites.
Virtual reality goes far beyond providing a virtual walk-through to show clients what their investment will look like. VR is also used to train construction workers on how to handle heavy equipment through realistic simulation. Workers will be able to operate machinery with effective communication and collaboration. Safety hazards can be quickly explained to everyone involved without being exposed to risks, thereby reducing accidents on site.
AR enhances what we see with the aid of data and information. It facilitates providing accurate measurements and material details, as well as reducing errors. Design conflicts that aren’t identified in BIM (Building Information Modeling) can be quickly seen and resolved based on the client’s specification.
3D printing can be used to create building components or even print an entire building. Although it was once regarded as expensive and time-consuming, recent advances have made 3D printing an accessible option for the construction industry.
The pros of this trend abound: from faster and more exact creation of complex items to lower labor costs and producing less waste. It also allows for construction in extreme or dangerous environments that aren’t suitable for a human workforce.
It’s a very exciting time to be in the construction industry. As these trends mature in the next few years, we’ll start seeing some of the stuff that we once thought were only possible in sci-fi movies pop up in our cities. But as I’ve stated before, we must be careful to merge tradition with innovation, moving the industry forward while maintaining reputable quality standards.