2020 was a year of compulsive slow-paced life and even slower construction processes. The need for innovation and better technology has only grown hence. As we continue towards completing another year post the year of the global pandemic, there are both challenges and lessons learned. To begin with, Labor shortage and rising construction costs are on top of the platter of persistent challenges, to say the least.
Let us have a closer look at the major trends that are believed to dominate the construction industry in the coming years.
1. Construction Management Software
The construction industry has infamously been slow to leap into technology; however, these industry trends shall continue to persist. The Construction Management Software segment is increasingly becoming more advanced and easier to integrate with the on-site tasks. Many project management solutions are now being employed to improve the efficiency of operations and build an enhanced business reputation. COVID-19 did teach the industry the concept of “Work from Home” which is one major cause behind the longevity of this software.
Few top ones are:1. Procore
2. CoConstruct/Project Sight
3. BIM 360 Docs
5 Bluebeam Studio
Technological advancements within the industry aren’t limited to only software. Drone usage is becoming increasingly fashionable for construction companies because of its technological advancement and inaccessible reach. Drones, sometimes mentioned as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), are useful on construction sites for surveying the task site and ensuring workers are kept out of doubtless dangerous situations. Unmanned operation, clean and crisp imaging technology, and capable of conducting surveillance & inspections, these robots have made the process of construction appear safer and seamless.
The most recent innovations apart from the great Drone are:
1. HILTI JAIBOT – Semi-autonomous Penetration and Drilling Robot
2. FBR Hadrian x – The World’s First Autonomous Brick-laying Robot
3. Atlant 4000 – Demolition Robot
3. Green Construction
As the civilization slowly moves towards better and enriched methods of development, the concept of Green Buildings is steadily catching up too. Reducing carbon footprint per building per person to effectively reduce net carbon emission is one of the underlying fundamentals of this model. As increasingly more buildings and plans are searching for ways to include sustainability into the development process, Green construction is the future of this Brick Mortar Industry and would make it environmentally responsible and resource-efficient too.
There are various building certifications that built-up spaces have to qualify to be called Green Buildings. Listed below are the most common 5:
1. LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; Issuing Body: U.S. Green Buildings Council
2. Energy Star; Issuing Body: Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency
3. BREEAM – Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method; Issuing Body: BREEAM
4. Green Globes – Green Globes certification program; Issuing Body: The Green Building Initiative.
5. NBGS Green – National Green Building Standard; Issuing Body: National Association of Home Builders
4. Modular and Prefabricated Construction
The upcoming decade undoubtedly will see greater recognition of modular and prefabricated construction projects. Modular construction companies are making waves within the industry due to the significantly expedited rate at which they’ve completed residential and commercial buildings. Prefab is gaining superior acknowledgment due to the factory-made aspect which involves pre-stressing the construction member and testing its limits even before it is actually used. This is surely one of the many reasons pre-fab is gaining the momentum that it is. In fact, the modular construction market contains a projected annual rate of growth of 6.9%, being valued at up to $157 billion by 2023.
5. BIM (Building Information Modeling)
Building information modeling, or BIM, is another growing industry trend that is being employed by a larger number of Projects today. BIM is a way of representing buildings, roads, and utilities through the computer (software)-generated images to assist contractors to visualize a construction process before it’s built.
Architects and engineers can use the models to visualize how building materials will perform over time. If a subcontractor can visualize their part of the project before beginning work, they will accurately estimate what proportion of a particular material is required. This visualization capability reduces the quantity of wasted time, labor, and materials on a project.
The top 2 methods of commissioning BIM in construction projects are:1. Laser Scanning and Image Rendering
2. Clash Coordination using various Project Management/ Design Review Software – Structural, Architectural, and All other Trades involved.
Apart from these top 5, there is a long list of other smaller ones – Augmented Reality, HD Surveying, Geo-location, IoT, Self-healing Concrete, and Cloud collaboration amongst others. The Construction industry may have taken a hit in the past few years but, today, the overall outlook seems positive given the new and innovative techniques that the Industry is slowly yet steadily picking up. Whatever the case may be, the industry has always and will forever keep adding to the infrastructure of the society!