2020 was a turbulent year for the construction industry but 2021 is showing constant growth. There are rising construction costs that still affect the industry and the labor shortages did not disappear. However, after a year filled with pandemic-related problems, we see more and more contracts being signed. The industry is becoming more and more competitive, with the following trends being quite big right now.
Increased Use Of Protective Equipment
Every single commercial construction company out there was impacted by the pandemic. New site guidelines were implemented, with a huge focus put on safety protocols and cleanliness. The influence of the unions is higher in projects, which does increase time and costs.
We clearly see new technologies being used in protection, like wearable innovation and modern headsets to protect against noise pollution. Besides the worker gear, we also see more use of robots to replace some human workers, like machines that help with raising scaffolding.
Technology is a huge part of our lives so it should be no surprise to see that innovations appeared in construction. Most of those that are widely adopted around the world focus on enhancing efficiency. Some technologies that are now changing how buildings are raised are:
- Smart contracts – the use of blockchain technology is making communication and relationships between firms better.
- Drones – using construction drones is now one of the fastest technology trends in construction, with the usage rate rising by over 230% every single year.
- Augmented reality – AR is capable of facilitating wearable technology use and improve the use of 360-degree video.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) – this increases efficiency thanks to generating accurate and fast computer renderings of utilities and buildings.
More Laborers Are Needed
There is a constant increase in labor demand seen right now in practically all aspects of construction. Quality labor stands out as competitive and expensive, even if robots are capable of helping these days.
We do need highly educated workers and the good news is that women step in to fill many competitive roles. While right now, according to the BLS, only 10.9% of all construction industry jobs are occupied by women, there is an increase in the number of female-owned construction companies and we see more and more women placed in senior positions.
Mobile Access And Remote Worksites
With the use of mobile apps, worksite access is easier than ever. This includes performing inspections, measuring with mobile phone cameras, and increasing on-site accountability. Teams now have to collaborate in the pandemic world without a physical access to spaces, teammates, and materials. Virtual meetings are becoming the norm and in-person gatherings are no longer the norm. Construction companies that do not use mobile connectivity suffer and lose ground.
Increased Material Costs
Last but not least, material costs are going up. This is made worse by rising interest rates. As a result, we are faced with construction companies facing a lot of pressure when it comes to properly managing costs. To make matters even more complicated, modern technology like was mentioned above is not cheap. We even see the use of innovative technology and living materials that are pushing costs even higher, like 3D graphene and invisible solar cells.