The global construction industry is predicted to grow to $10.3 trillion in 2020. That's up from $7.4 trillion in 2010.
It's come a long way from its image of static building sites, ungainly workwear and unsociable hours. Construction is evolving and integrating more with technology and social issues.
It's no wonder people want to work in the construction industry!
Want to be one of them? Read on to learn about the 9 construction industry trends you should be on top of.
1. VR and AR
Far from being cute video game gimmicks, VR and AR offer excellent opportunities in construction. Why rely on sketches or models of an architectural project when you can walk a client through a virtual space?
VR can also be used in safety training to protect workers. 'Handling' technology provides a better insight to using it safely than simply watching a safety video.
And AR enhances our existing view of a space, providing a digital overlay of a project.
The Air Measure is a great example of an AR app for the construction industry. On-site and not sure of a distance? Just reach for your smartphone, open the Air Measure app, and get the data you need.
VR and AR can offer fascinating new perspectives on a construction project. But drones give a view that VR can't yet match.
They can map sites before work begins to provide a realistic map of the terrain and potential pitfalls. Operators can regularly survey sites to monitor progress.
Drones offer site managers the opportunity to manage every aspect of the construction process without lengthy walkarounds. Their videography can also pinpoint safety hazards before they become a problem.
Using drones is a construction trend it's worth knowing about. But they also offer a new job opportunity - that of a remote pilot.
3. Building Information Modeling (BIM)
NBS released their National BIM Report in 2017. They showed 78 percent of respondents thought BIM was the future of project information. While that refers to the UK construction industry, expect it to become a North American construction trend too.
BIM offers a lot of possibilities, such as generating visualizations of projects during their construction.
Alternatively, designers can predict how the buildings will last. With an eye on sustainability and longevity, forecasting this is key to keeping costs down.
Using BIM even lets owners set up maintenance schedules for their buildings. BIM turns collaboration into a key part of the workflow in a construction project.
Because it keeps all the information in one place, engineers can see at a glance if the specified systems will fit in the space allowed. And architects can see if the solutions they've created are physically possible.
Learning to use BIM software will give you a valuable skill.
4. Green Construction
Construction companies will need to invest in new technology to meet new green certification requirements.
Look at the LEED Certification. It's recognized globally and acts as a gold standard for sustainable construction.
Many green construction methods have compatibility with traditional methods because they're both aimed at making economic and durable buildings.
But these new methods focus on a building's longevity, adding an element of future proofing alongside their green credentials.
Greywater rain systems, permeable concrete, self-healing asphalt and different products made of unlikely recycled items are all an exciting part of green construction.
5. Improved Sustainability
Sustainable construction is not the same as green construction.
Sustainable practices also consider ways to preserve the environment within a construction project. It also involves things like using light wells to lower the need for electric lighting.
They also look at ways to reuse existing buildings or recycle building materials. Given the increasing cost of construction materials, recycling could be a way to minimize the impact of rising prices.
6. Project Management Software
Construction projects naturally accrue a lot of data. That data helps drive the decision-making process. Or at least it should if it's utilized properly.
Project management software collects data into a centralized space where it can be analyzed. At that point, managers can guard against overrunning budgets or inefficiency.
These programs also help streamline projects by bringing scheduling and management features into one interface. Even a general contractor could benefit from this software.
Imagine a future where data from project management software was available via AR. Managers can see everything at a glance while on-site, instead of checking details later.
7. Improved Safety Equipment
We've already talked about the safety implications of using VR and drones on-site. But how will workers stay safe on the job?
Technology is already extending its reach into safety gear. Wearable equipment is getting lighter, making it more comfortable to wear.
And the Internet of Things even offers the potential for smart work boots. They'll be able to send data to site managers about where workers are and if they've fallen. Boots like these will also make it easier for construction companies to comply with safety standards.
8. Modular Construction
Construction projects often suffer when bad weather hits. Progress slows down or even halts together.
And extreme weather is likely to increase threefold in sixty percent of North American locations. Being able to continue construction work in safe conditions will be paramount to getting projects completed on time.
Modular construction offers a potential solution. This moves the construction work to a factory floor, where units are assembled separately. Then they're relocated to the construction site, where they're installed.
This form of construction offers faster completion and safer working conditions.
It sounds strange but the weather affects many aspects of construction. Check out this blog to find out how a need for sun-control popularized aluminum canopies.
Machines revolutionized the assembly line, automating repetitive or dangerous tasks. This freed up workers to focus on more creative or delicate parts of the process.
Likewise, robotics offer the potential to revolutionize construction. They're still in the early stages but many hope they'll be able to speed up monotonous tasks.
And MIT built a Digital Construction Platform that creates form structures using 3D printing. Combining the possibilities of 3D printing with modular construction could herald a new age of architecture.
Learn What You Can About These 9 Construction Industry Trends.
There are plenty of opportunities available in this dynamic and exciting sector. And keeping on top of construction industry trends is a great way to demonstrate your interest in an interview situation.
If you're interested in a job in construction, then our careers blog is packed with helpful tips and hints to get you going.