In 2017, the construction industry saw a great deal of growth and change. From an increase in overall home purchases to the incorporation of innovative 3D technology, the industry as a whole is changing fast.
Now, at the beginning of 2018, we're looking forward with anticipation to changes the new year will bring to those in the construction industry.
Only time will tell what 2018 will bring, but based on our research, we've compiled a few of our top predictions for continuing and emerging construction industry trends.
1. Increased Use of Project Management Software
We saw many improvements on existing construction technology in 2017, with more and more construction businesses taking advantage of the benefits of utilizing these technologies.
With that in mind, it's safe to predict that we'll see more construction businesses implementing real-time project management software in the coming year and beyond. Doing so can help these businesses reduce waste and improve overall efficiency with projects of just about any size or scope—and there is no shortage of project management software options available in today's growing market.
2. Continued Incorporation of Drones
The use of drones has become increasingly popular in the construction industry for the past few years, with 2018 slated to be the biggest year for drones in construction yet.
Many construction managers and companies are beginning to realize the benefits of using drones to map construction sites, report progress to clients, and tracking construction progress.
In fact, the drone industry as a whole is expected to grow from a worth of $2 billion to $10 billion within the next decade.
3. Enhanced Focus on Green Construction
With the dawn of another year will also come an increased focus on green construction and the use of sustainable materials throughout the industry. Many states, such as California, Massachusetts, and Colorado, are aggressively updating green building code standards to reduce greenhouse gas levels from construction, reduce energy and water consumption, and to create healthier environments for residents to work and live.
Construction projects in 2018 and beyond will be pursued with a trend towards reducing waste and consumption not just in the United States, but on a global scale.
4. New Labor Opportunities
One of the major concerns of the construction industry in 2017 was that new technological advancements (such as drones and VR technology) would negate the need for many "traditional" construction jobs.
In 2018 and beyond, it will likely become clear that what we're actually seeing is a gradual shift in the types of jobs that will be needed in the construction industry.
While the future may bring more demand for knowledgeable workers who can create and maintain new technologies, the demand for labor isn’t diminishing anytime soon.
There is still a shortage of skilled labor facing the construction industry, with older generations of skilled tradespeople retiring faster than new generations enter the industry. The construction industry as a whole needs skilled tradespeople, especially in areas like California where massive rebuilding efforts are needed after fires devastated the state.
5. Widespread Use of VR/AR Technology
2016 and 2017 saw the introduction of VR and AR technologies in the construction industry. Most notably, this technology was first used to show clients ahead of time what their construction project would look like upon its completion—essentially allowing them to enjoy a virtual walk-through of the property.
In 2018, as more construction firms are able to adopt this innovative technology, it is likely that the use of AR and VR will become increasingly popular. New uses for AR/VR may also include training for construction workers and the ability to foster on-site collaboration from afar.
6. Major Safety Improvements
Safety in the construction industry is always a concern, and in 2018, we expect to see an increased focus on improving existing safety procedures to reduce on-the-job risks and foster a safer work environment for all.
Through the use of mobile apps designed specifically for worker safety and specific safety technologies, there is no shortage of resources available to construction companies that want to reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace. And with many of these resources now becoming more affordable/accessible, it's likely that more companies will begin to pick them up in 2018.
7. More Modular/Pre-Fab Projects
Modular and pre-fabrication construction projects are known not only for their cost-effectiveness, but for their unrivaled energy efficiency as well. As a result, it's expected that we will see an increase in popularity of these projects in 2018, especially as many construction clients continue looking to save money wherever possible (and while material costs remain rather on the high side). We'll see this trend not just in the commercial construction field, but in residential construction as well.
These are just a few of the key trends that we expect to see emerge or continue in the construction industry throughout 2018. These advancements are expected to improve the industry as a whole, not just for construction firms themselves, but for their employees and clients in the process.