5 construction industry trends to watch in 2020
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A new year, new decade - and new construction trends. But what does this mean for your business and the industry?
2019 saw an incredible growth of digital technology to both support the construction process and its project management. Keeping on top of trends in the construction industry not only helps keep your company from falling behind, but it helps you prepare for the future.
But with a variety of trends becoming popular on construction sites, what are the ones to look out for?
Modular and Prefabricated construction
Modular and prefabricated solutions are nothing new to the construction industry. The end of the Second World War saw something of a 'Cambrian Explosion' in prefab design in war-torn cities across the UK.
While it has fallen out of favour over the last few decades, prefabs have been making something of a comeback in recent years. The promise of faster on-site assembly and higher quality, standardized builds are seen by some as the solution to tackle perceived housing crises around the world.
Advances in high-tech design and construction mean increasing numbers of components can be manufactured off-site. That means buildings can go up more quickly and quietly, with fewer materials wasted.
And to accommodate modular house-building, developers are even building their own factories, and architects are getting ever more ambitious in their designs.
As the technology supporting off-site constructed modular units improves and the rising demand for housing, environmentally friendly solutions and affordability we can expect to see a lot more activity in this sector.
Construction Management Software
The construction industry might have been slow to jump into technology, but it is certainly catching up with other sectors.
Project management software is getting increasingly more advanced and easy to integrate on the job. Many project management solutions are bundling scheduling, project management, and timekeeping in order to better serve construction companies.
And as these project management solutions get more advanced, they will continue to be a rising trend in the industry in 2020.
Drones in Construction
Whether flying around a room or capturing unique aerial footage, drones offer vast possibilities and applications — even in the world of construction.
Their use in the sector continues to be one of the fastest growing trends, with usage rising by 239 percent year over year. And the technology offers far more uses than just aerial photography for purchasing and commercial efforts.
Today’s drones are used for rapidly mapping large areas over long distances, producing valuable aerial heat maps and thermal images. The advancing drone software provides real-time, actionable, data that can be used for rapid decision making, streamlining the entire construction process.
Drones can also be increasingly used to reach heights and do jobs in place of human workers to prevent injury. And as on-site security tools, drones can be leveraged to reduce labour costs and minimize the risk of theft. That keeps projects on schedule and moving faster too.
A growing field in the industry, green construction is a growing field in construction, as increasingly more buildings and plans are looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into the construction process.
Covering all stages of a project, from planning and design to construction, maintenance, and demolition, green construction refers to the building of projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient way.
While the construction industry accounts for about 20% of global emissions, with crumbling buildings and an expanding population, there is a clear need for more buildings. By constructing environmentally friendly buildings and focusing on longevity and sustainability, construction companies can create a win-win situation - a building that is both economically and environmentally efficient.
Other green construction trends that are becoming increasingly popular in the industry include carbon scrubbing building facades, bricks made of recycled cigarette butts, thermally driven air conditioners and asphalt that will heal itself.
These sustainable trends are only a fraction of the advancements being made in green construction and are surely here to stay in 2020.
Global companies becoming housebuilders
For many ambitious young graduates, the biggest headache attached to landing a role in London, Sydney or New York is finding somewhere affordable to live. And la ack of cheap housing in major cities has also become a significant recruitment problem for companies around the world.
Housing pressures have forced the corporate world to rethink the perks used to entice top talent.
And while the likes of Facebook and Google have drawn up plans to construct housing for tech workers struggling with prices in the San Francisco Bay Area, business leaders closer to home are also thinking outside of the box.
In London the shortage of affordable homes is making business leaders anxious. A survey by CBI/CBRE found 66 per cent of companies in the capital said housing costs and availability were having a negative impact on entry-level recruitment.
Dozens of leading employers have agreed to a pledge drawn up by the Mayor of London to provide some form of housing help. Professional service giant KPMG has arranged preferential mortgage rates for employees with leading banks.
Its rival Deloitte, meanwhile, has set up around 150 new recruits in East Village apartments under terms negotiated by the company, including free superfast broadband, free rent for two weeks, no deposit and no registration fees.
Who knows where this trend will go in 2020…and beyond.