The construction industry was already evolving at an unprecedented rate before 2020, which included embracing new technologies to make construction sites both safer and more efficient. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly hasn’t delayed this at all. If anything, these changes have been brought forward, increased, and amplified.
As these changes continue redefining the industry as a whole, they’re not just going to alter how buildings are constructed, but also many aspects of how we do business in general. This is why we’ve identified the top construction trends which are already starting to define the future of the industry.
Streamlining Processes Through Modular Builds
Prefabricated or modular construction is certainly nothing new, considering the idea has been around since at least Ancient Roman times. But thanks to the potential for fast on-site assembly while retaining the same high quality, prefab builds have started coming back onto the scene. Especially considering recent advances in design technology have streamlined the process of modular fabrication making it much more cost-effective and energy-efficient.
With the last 12 months of market flux, construction where components are manufactured and prefabricated off-site in controlled factory environments makes a lot of sense for many firms. Not only does that mean less chance of weather delays, but this modality of construction increases productivity and shortens timelines while eliminating common safety hazards on-site. As this adds up to reduced overheads saving everyone a considerable amount of money, you can expect to see plenty more prefab and modular buildings sites in future.
Safer Working Environments Onsite
Safety has always been crucial on every construction site, but it came even more into focus during the pandemic. While new mobile apps were initially created to ensure everyone on site could easily adhere to all COVID safety requirements, that was just the beginning. New advancements in technology are being implemented to help keep workers safe on-site. This combination of safety and technology is set to bring about a new era of site safety that will change construction sites in a big way over the coming decade.
There is plenty of new safety-focused technology being incorporated into building site equipment. From more low-tech ideas like moisture-wicking fabrics to drones capable of identifying and eliminating common safety issues, the list just keeps growing. One of the latest wearable technology innovations for job sites is Wi-Fi connected work boots which can monitor
GPS coordinates in three-dimensional spaces to alert supervisors of falls, accidents, and changes in heartbeat or body heat.
Enabling Local Manufacturing (Again) Through Automation
When the pandemic shut down global trade, the disruption in supply caused many firms to delay or suspend their construction projects. But after a few weeks of supply chains remaining blocked, many contractors started looking toward local suppliers for locally manufactured products. So instead of importing products from overseas, construction companies are manufacturing everything locally using collaborative robots.
Apart from lower manufacturing costs, the trend towards automated manufacturing is also being driven by contractors wanting to ensure constant access to materials that can’t be affected by disruptions to the importing supply chain. And this new focus on local manufacturing through automation will allow countries such as Australia to expand their exports while improving the economy and creating new jobs.
Despite the traditional resistance within the construction industry when it comes to new technologies, the digital revolution has always been inevitable. So when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, all it did was accelerate the transition to technology by a few years. Now, construction companies that hadn’t embraced anything new since the invention of the air compressor nail gun are actually embracing significant upgrades in tech.
The future of construction is already here, with a range of digital tools which enhance many aspects of work in and around the job site. Some of the more significant examples include the latest in Building Information Monitoring systems, wearable technologies, drone scanning, and 3D printing. All across the construction industry, the latest technology is being adopted to improve quality, safety, efficiency, collaboration, and productivity on every project. And all of these new digital tools will ultimately translate to reduced costs and enhanced profit in the new normal, especially over the long term.
Growing Need for Labour
The most noticeable trend in the construction industry recently has been the unprecedented increase in demand for skilled labour. While it’s unclear at the moment whether the pandemic is going to impact this demand, skilled personnel are still going to be crucial to support the adoption of digital technologies along with any other anticipated trends.
To ensure your hiring strategies will allow for future growth, construction firms will need to attract the right talent who can excel using the latest digital tools. Especially if you are going to have any hope of dominating the industry competition. This will require many to think laterally when seeking to hire skilled labour, as computer experts and data technicians become important members of future construction teams along with steelworkers and carpenters.
Everyone understands all too well after 2020 that there’s no way to predict anything with absolute certainty. But by keeping on top of the latest construction trends today, your company can prepare for the most likely future facing the industry of tomorrow.