A modern construction site is a place where technology rules. It’s greatly influenced by engineering trends which are constantly changing. So if you want to stay on top of your competitors, you need to embrace the latest trends and employ them on your business so that you will have an advantage over those who don’t upgrade and win more projects.
In several studies, it shows that owners tend to award projects to those who operate with the latest technology trends. Some of the trends that rolled out in 2019 were discussed in our blog “How Technology is Revolutionizing the Construction Industry.” Yet again, as 2020 enters, a set of new trends – mostly updates on existing technologies and some predictions – are slated for dominating the construction scene of the new year.
Technology in Construction Sites and Their Impact on Your Business
A research done by McKinsey and Company shows that human labor is at the trail of the overall productivity in the construction site. This means that technology is now more influential at the construction site when it comes to ensuring productivity and efficiency. Predictions have it that the rate will still shoot up in 2020 and the coming years with the Baby Boomers being replaced now by the tech-savvy Millennial and Generation Z. Who knows, this could be a way to bridge the gap created by a labor shortage in the industry.
As technology is ever-changing, new business opportunities are expected to emerge. The difference between the technology you use and the ones used by your competitors can get you ahead of them or behind them. So it is important to be on the look out for newly released technologies and see which will be of use to your company and which will impress project owners. Those who don’t even care to upgrade have very little chance of winning a project as new tools are now almost synonymous with quality and efficiency.
So without further ado, let’s now look at the trends we think will be game-changers in the construction industry this year 2020.
New Construction Trends and What Can Bring to the Table
Our suggestion that you update your operation with the latest construction trends doesn’t mean you jump right into the fad without even knowing whether it will work for you or not. Of course, a careful study on how it can be beneficial to you and your client should be done. Without it, you might just be putting your funds into something that will turn out to be a loss rather than gain.
Take note that some trends are bound to last for years. You don’t need to change your processes every now and then, most especially when the service comes with upgrades. For example, construction project management software like Pro Crew Schedule come with provisions for an upgrade whenever there is a new version released. This takes away the need to buy a whole new software package every year. Rather, you just update your subscription. A software update doesn’t even need additional cost.
As we studied the trends that are going to boom this 2020, we looked into a couple of micro trends and from there, we captured clues on the bigger fad that’s coming. The more successful construction companies are those that review both of these trends and determine which ones make good sense in their business.
Furthermore and like we already mentioned, the best way to fight labor shortage is by streamlining up-to-date construction processes since these are designed and tested by experts to find better solutions to common issues faced by the industry. Hence, the operations are greatly improved.
So this year 2020, watch these eight construction trends and look into how you can capitalize on them to overcome business challenges while staying on top of the competition.
1. Modular and Prefabrication
Prefabrication has been one of the exciting trends welcomed by companies in previous years. It has made building phases of the project a lot easier and has shown improvement in the turnaround time of job orders. Costs have been trimmed down by a lot too, thanks to prefabricated parts. Delays are lessened too.
Modular construction has used prefabrication for building repetitive structures like office walls or a whole apartment. More and more companies are considering the benefits of this type of constructing structures and it is predicted that the Modular Construction Market will grow to a whopping $157 billion in value by 2023.
Modernization at the construction site is taking human welfare into great consideration. There are innovations designed to boost not just the productivity of laborers but also to guard their health. Exoskeletons are not yet officially used on construction sites, but this 2020, we might see companies using these robotic assistants to help workers in their manual tasks.
The exoskeleton was designed to help laborers carry more load that they cannot do using only their human bodies. With this tool employed at the site, more can be done by just one person so the need for more laborers is eliminated. It also makes the work faster so it lessens the possibility of a delay. It is powerful enough to easily carry heavy objects, taking away risks of injury.
Exoskeletons are great alternatives for 3D printing and robotics technologies. For smaller-scale companies that can’t afford to buy a 3D printer for construction or robots to replace humans, they can use this tool to make work way faster than manual work.
3. Safety Equipment
Safety should always be the top priority in construction. Preventing injuries saves a lot of time from repeat work or missed labor time and eliminates extra cost in treating injuries. These days, there are technologies dedicated to eliminating risks of injuries. First, Augmented reality has been introduced to duplicate elements in the construction site that may involve high-risk factors. This includes heavy equipment with moving and cutting parts. Instead of manually checking the problem, AR flashes the exact part to the human crew so they can point out the problem without meeting accidents.
Virtual reality is as useful. It duplicates a risky environment so people can do their inspection from a safer site.
Other techs are continuously being developed too like Pants, boots, and vests that integrate GPS, radio frequency identification (RFID), or Wi-Fi to track the worker and notify management if someone falls.
4. 3D printing and Robotics
3D printing isn’t new. This technology is already widely used in some countries like China. Since 2015, they’ve been building houses out of a gigantic printer and can finish a two-story house in just one week. This task usually takes 3-6 months using manual labor. The materials used are fireproof and earthquake resistant too and after the world saw the advantage, other countries have already started to adopt the technology.
Robots are also not new. They are now being used to replace manually operated cranes and other heavy equipment.
Both 3D printing and robots are used in most prefabrication sites. The option they offer is, obviously, more cost-effective than the traditional building methods. But since we are still more confident when the human mind and labor are involved, workers are still indispensable even in front of the latest models of 3D printers and robots.
This 2020, it is expected that these two technologies will get more surprising updates and will bring more breakthroughs in the construction industry. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that 2020 could be the year of the robot in the construction industry.
Currently, robots are in full blast when it comes to building maintenance like window cleaning, but going further to the days of 2020, we might see robots taking on bigger roles, this time in the construction site.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is responsible for the use of AR and VR in construction sites. IoT can integrate with materials, equipment, machines, and so much more, making monitoring much easier, faster, and safer. Management can now receive alerts when the warehouse runs out and a new supply is needed. Sensors are used to check on pressure and temperature so engineers can check on the safety of the site. The same can be applied to PPE of the laborers, notifying project managers when accidents just happened.
Sustainability will be more of a priority this year too. Using green technology becomes the number one way to ensure sustainability this 2020. It involves the use of environment-friendly resources that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and longer-lasting.
A lot of buildings across the globe are now created with sustainable methods and green resources. And surprisingly, they are very modern. One of the greatest environmentally-friendly structures that gained popularity across the globe is Phipps’ Center For Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh.
Another is the world-renowned and freshly opened Changi Airport in Singapore. The list goes on and we’ll see more of these eco-friendly and sustainable buildings this year and the coming years.
7. Blockchain Technology
Money exchange is a huge part of construction projects, most especially those that involve multi-national members. Blockchain technology is used to ease the management of these kinds of transactions, whether they are financial or data related.
Blockchain technology streamlines payment in construction projects by taking a third-party intermediary such as banks out of the contract bids, processing, and payment procedures. This is used by many construction companies these days because it helps in saving funds by reducing the number of bank transactions needed as well as documents.
8. Construction Project Management Software
And lastly, streamlining automation in communication and documentation through construction project management software. Software like Pro Crew Schedule are being leveraged in construction sites to help make planning, scheduling, and monitoring a lot easier. They also make communication more effective and eliminates costs from having to print documents. Delays are lessened, too, by having information distributed in real-time compared to the traditional method of having to print files and sending them to the site for posting.
Part of the reason for the rise in these trends is to battle labor shortages. Like we mentioned many times in our e-book and previous blogs, technology is a way to attract the millennials to apply for a job in the construction industry, hence bridging the gap created by a labor shortage. And as you noticed, the other trends in this list are related to technology.
It doesn’t only force the industry to explore better ways of doing projects but also scouts younger talents who can replace the older generation workers who are already about to retire. This way, profitability continues.
These are just some of our predictions on which trends are probably going to boom this 2020. The construction industry is forced to embrace changes, mostly brought about by technology. Change is hard but by investigating all these trends, a company will surely find one tool or two to employ in its projects.