Construction Trends to Be on the Lookout For

The U.S. construction industry is clawing its way back after pandemic setbacks and is on track to reach a value of $1,650,159 million by the end of 2022.

High demand for housing is one of the key drivers behind this rapid growth. Commercial buildings are bound to follow suit as business returns to normal.

As a result, construction companies have evolved with the times to adopt new methods and technologies to help them cope. Keep reading to find out more about the latest construction trends.

Modular and Prefab Construction 

These principles involve constructing 60-90% of a structure offsite. Once they’re completed, the construction company delivers them to the site. It’s much quicker and easier to assemble these modules than to start a building from scratch.

Modular and prefab construction creates less waste, saves time, and keeps costs low. Hospitals and multifamily residences benefit the most from these construction techniques. 

Manhattan’s CitizenM Bowery Hotel is the tallest modular construction on Earth, with 21 floors.
As modular construction advances, major international builders say they will use this method 75% of the time in the future.

3D Printing

Construction 3D printing uses materials like fiber, sand, concrete, mud, and oil to manufacture parts of buildings. In most cases, 3D printers can only produce the walls and frame of a building.

Yet, this industry is growing so rapidly, that electrical and plumbing fixtures aren’t too far on the horizon. 

The construction industry benefits from 3D printing by saving time and reducing labor costs. Due to this, Habitat for Humanity owns a 2,400 ft home in Arizona that is 80% 3D-printed.  

Green Building

Green building centers on constructing sustainable, environmentally-sound buildings. This includes both the methods and materials involved. 

This type of construction includes technology to lower a building’s carbon footprint. It also focuses on reducing the use of non-sustainable resources.

More importantly, green construction can improve the well-being of the building’s occupants. At the same time, it reduces running costs.

Around the world, regulatory bodies and governments are focusing more on these factors. As one of the world’s largest carbon emitters, the construction industry is on their radar.

As such, builders and building owners alike can enjoy incentives when they employ green building techniques. Thus, around 50% of builders already use green building methods.

Likewise, most newly built single-family homes have energy-efficient features.

Living Building Materials 

One of the more unusual green building trends involves using living building materials.

Living cement is one of the fastest-moving sectors in this fledgling concept. That’s because the cement industry accounts for 8% of carbon emissions globally.  

Products like self-mending bio-cement and self-replicating concrete are leaders in this range. 

Bio-cement comprises biological materials and can absorb carbon dioxide. Self-healing materials contain a fungus that grows to fill any cracks that appear.

By ‘growing’ these self-replicating building materials, suppliers can scale their businesses easily. At the same time, they’re doing good for the environment. 

BioMason Inc.’s bio-cement blocks are an example of living building materials.  

Green roofs, comprising plant coverings and small parks, are common in urban areas. They help reduce urban heat sinks and help buildings resist inclement weather, too. 

Google’s new multitiered London headquarters is an example of building horizontally to use plants in construction. 

Smart Cities

Smart cities are having an immense impact on civilization and the construction industry. These cities integrate fully with the internet of things (IoT).

That means the buildings and infrastructure in these cities assist in collecting and collating data. They use this information to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

These intelligent urban spaces feature:

  • Interconnected automated transportation networks
  • State-of-the-art water supply and waste disposal facilities
  • Efficient lighting and heating systems
  • Widespread home connectivity
  • Wi-Fi in public areas
  • Smart electricity meters
  • Open data
  • E-government
  • Sustainable practices

The first smart cities are already under construction. They will undergo their first live test runs within the next few years. 

To stay in the game as these cities become the norm, builders must start using IoT advancements in their building materials.

Technological Construction Trends

Efficiency is a priority as companies seek to increase efficiency amid shortages and a 19% increase in building material costs in recent times. As a result, these businesses are looking to harness technology in construction to enhance their operations. 

These are some of the major tech innovations in construction:

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain construction technology allows organizations to share systems while working on a project. That means they can buy, track, and pay for services in one place. 

This eliminates the back and forth involved in keeping track of deliverables from several parties. In this way, shared contracts speed up workflow while providing secure ways to transact.   

Cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can now merge with Blockchain technology to enhance these benefits. These ERPs include Oracle, NetSuite, and Acumatica for Construction.  

This software helps builders negotiate prices more efficiently, automate sales workflows and save costs. They also ensure profitability by helping manage estimates, budgets, and bids.

Construction Drones

Drones play a major role in construction for mapping large areas over long distances. They’re ideal for producing aerial heat maps, and thermal images, providing actionable data in real-time.  

This helps streamline the construction process at every stage. It also enhances safety by removing the dangers associated with working at heights.

Drones also help reduce labor costs and can play a role in enhancing site security. 

Augmented Reality

Globally, AR is a major trend in many industries, and it’s making its way into construction, too. Augmented reality allows builders and developers to use 360° video and wearable technology for:

  • 3D visualization of projects
  • Automated measuring of buildings
  • Simulation of structural and architectural adjustments
  • Hazard simulations for safety training 

Building Information Modeling 

BIM allows users to generate lifelike renderings of utilities and buildings. This makes it easy to share data for managing models and enhances the prefabrication of parts for accurate, timely completion of jobs. 

Leading technologies in this area include Trimble Connect, Autodesk BIM 360, and Navisworks.

Mobile Applications

Mobile apps aren’t new technology, but they’re a powerful tool when combined with some of the above technologies. Mobile connectivity makes it easier and more cost-effective to run remote construction sites.

With applications, workers can conduct real-time inspections and take accurate measurements using only a mobile phone camera. 

Born of a need for social distancing, these apps allow for virtual collaboration. In this way, they eliminate the travel costs and time required for lengthy in-person meetings. 

Construction Automation and Robotics

Robots are taking over the construction workplace. They’re helping save time, reduce waste, alleviate labor shortages, and enhance safety.  

Over half of construction companies already use robots to perform numerous tasks on- and off-site. The most popular ones include:

  • The TyBOT for tying rebar 40% faster than humans
  • FieldPrinter for marking layouts on concrete slabs
  • Autonomous construction vehicles 

The Built Robots Exosystem integrates with all late model excavators to eliminate the need for a human operator. 

Worker Safety

The construction industry is notorious for its poor safety records. Every year, hundreds of people die from workplace accidents in the construction field. 

Ongoing efforts to change this situation have led to numerous enhancements in worker safety. The humble hard hat is undergoing a revolution with the addition of extra safety features.

Now, workers can wear construction-approved helmets with chin straps. This stops them from falling off and also increases the worker’s field of vision. New developments in helmets focus on preventing injuries to the head and neck by reducing impact. 

One system has a suspension system that absorbs impact and directs it away from the wearer’s spine and neck. High-tech helmets integrate the worker’s medical information and contact information into the helmet. 

Wearables that constantly monitor workers’ health focus on predicting and preventing workplace injuries.

These devices monitor activity levels, heart rate, sweat rate, and body temperature. They feed this information into an app that the worker and manager can view. 

This assists construction managers to provide on the spot safety support to their workers. 

Future Construction Innovation

These major construction trends are changing the construction industry across the globe, driven by escalating prices and labor shortages. As regulations regarding safety intensify and climate change continues unabated, they’re unlikely to slow down soon.

By embracing new ideas, practices, and technologies, builders will win more projects, increase profits and reduce risks.

These attributes are sure to speed up the rate of adoption, leading to even more innovation in construction. Would you like to keep track of these exciting changes? Bookmark our website and check back regularly for updates.  

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