4 Construction Trends to Watch for in 2018
Last year set the stage for an interesting development in the construction industry in 2018. With construction spending at an all-time high last November, and the development and implementation of innovative technology to facilitate the process, this year may prove to be substantial for the construction industry.
What trends should you be on the lookout for to stay competitive in 2018? We’ll discuss four important ones below.
Construction technology, or con-tech, has always lagged a bit behind other leading industries in the past. In 2017, we saw an increasing number of firms implementing new technology to improve efficiency, quality, and ultimately save on costs. This trend will continue in 2018 as well, as labor shortages (discussed below) will force companies to improve other areas of their construction process to relieve those pressures.
One should expect to see continuing developments in virtual reality, augmented reality, and wearables to facilitate on-site construction processes as well as safety. Virtual reality is particularly effective during the design phase as it allows the client to become fully immersed in their design and make important design decisions before they become costly.
One intriguing innovation is that of machine learning to improve safety, quality, and efficiency on the jobsite. As construction projects become increasingly interconnected and the amount of data available rises, smartvid.io aggregates all of this content and uses machine learning to identify safety issues and reduce risk.
Triumph Modular spoke with Ryan Smith, Director of Integrated Technology and Architecture at the University of Utah, who gave some interesting insights into the development of modular construction in 2018. Modular is expected to grow in 2018, in part due to the looming labor shortage and the need to offset the negative implications and maintain, or even improve, efficiency. He states that prefabricated components are particularly beneficial to projects with repetitive layouts such as multifamily residential developments.
Industry leaders such as Google and Marriott have also invested considerable amounts of money into offsite construction as well, further proving the opportunity and growth projected for the new year.
As a growing number of the nation’s youth are pursuing college degrees in lieu of trade school education, the construction industry is noticing a significant labor shortage. This issue may be due In part to the constant message that college education is a requirement for a successful career, creating an unfilled gap in apprenticeships and trade schools. Many skilled laborers are aging and exiting the industry without a healthy population of younger laborers to replace them.
This trend is expected to continue into 2018, with many industry groups lobbying government to provide funding for trade schools and promote registration. As explained above, many firms are turning to alternate construction methods such as offsite and implementing new technologies to increase efficiency in the wake of this trend.
As per the years before it, sustainability and green building practices will continue to be of great importance for construction industry firms. Growing trends in the area of sustainability include mass timber construction, which is completely sustainable and renewable, as well as recycling construction waste for use in other public works projects.
As solar energy grows increasingly easier to implement, we are sure to see it play a big role in the future of construction. Firms are continuously searching for methods to reduce energy costs, and the implementation of net-zero energy buildings offers a solution in which buildings create as much, if not more, energy than it consumes. In the residential space, we see innovative companies such as Tesla investing in solar roof tiles, which capture solar energy with a cleaner aesthetic than solar panels. Large companies such as Tesla investing in the technology should be a telling sign of things to come for sustainability in 2018.