The construction industry is changing faster than ever. Customer expectations and competition are driving firms to evolve quickly or fail. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Several emerging trends are changing construction firms for the better. Others, however, are keeping the industry from meeting rising demands. Construction Dive recently published the article 10 Trends Defining the Construction Industry. We thought you might find her list interesting. Here’s a brief look at some of her top picks, along with a few of our own.
It’s the one trend everyone is talking about. Construction needs more workers to keep up with demand. Contractors had 143,000 unfilled jobs in June of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLA).
Expanding Use Technology
Again, no secret here. Historically, construction has been slow to adopt new technologies. However, in recent years, BIM and construction-specific apps are becoming the norm at construction firms and on job sites. The latest tech addition: Drones are being put to work for a range of things from project photography to monitoring workers.
Accountability for Safety
The BLA rates construction as the 10th most dangerous job in the U.S. But as fines from OSHA jump from a slap on the wrist to a punch in the face and legal settlements reach eight figures, construction firms large and small are making safety a greater priority. The financial motivation is bringing about stricter penalties for unsafe behaviors by workers and those who manage them.
We’re big fans of this one (for obvious reasons). More architects and builders are embracing off-site construction, also called prefabricated or modular construction, as an efficient and reliable building method. They’re incorporating prefab into building designs to accelerate project delivery and as a result, cut costs.
Big Data & Analytics
Construction is not only using more technology. It’s also getting smarter about collecting and analyzing data. Industry experts are using big data to identify emerging markets, follow pending legislation and spot supply chain issues.
Designers are incorporating big data-crunching software into building control systems. The addition lets facility managers better monitor thermal dynamics and use patterns to optimize environmental controls and predict maintenance issues.
As firms continue to fight for low-profit projects, customer expectations are reaching new heights. Smart firms are responding by streamlining operations in a way that improves both quality and service. By bringing architects, BIM designers and engineers on staff, construction firms are becoming one-stop shops that deliver projects from start to finish, no outside firms requires. This approach lets project teams move faster, avoid costly delays and gives customers a single point of contact throughout.
As the calendar rolls over to 2016, some of these trends will become the norm while others only memories. Which do you see sticking around and which will be forgotten?