The construction industry is one of the largest sectors in the world, employing a significant percentage of the population and showing steady documented growth. But as the COVID-19 pandemic brought closures, restrictions, and a disrupted workforce, the construction industry suffered great losses as well, demonstrating the slowest growth in the last decade. Due to these changes, new trends and tendencies have emerged in the sector, all aiming to improve safety and efficiency while lowering costs. Here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind in 2022:
The construction sector was historically slow to adopt technological advancements, but that is steadily changing as the industry begins seeing significant losses in productivity and consequent harmed bottom lines. Workflow automation proved to be a great solution to this issue. It can help to speed up and improve common inefficient processes such as data entry and analysis, employee onboarding and payroll, and even project management procedures through online programs and estimating services. With workflow automation, projects can be safer, more accurate, and more cost-effective, increasing productivity and ensuring better client and team outcomes in the process.
Automation doesn’t end with workflows and day-to-day operations; it’s implemented into the process of construction as well. Robotics, for instance, are starting to gain more traction in the industry. Due to their mobility and adaptability, collaborative robots are now being used to streamline repetitive manual tasks previously done by human employees such as brick-laying. Robots deliver higher accuracy and efficiency, they help to ensure projects are completed under budget and on time, and they enable construction workers to focus on more important aspects of the business. The productivity and cost-efficiency they provide will likely make them even more popular in the future.
In construction, 3D printing is used to create buildings one layer at a time, using common materials such as concrete, clay, and even recycled plastic. This building solution has garnered substantial interest in the industry in recent years, most likely due to the fact that 3D printing is much quicker and more affordable than conventional construction methods. But even though certain large-scale and high-end projects were created using this solution, 3D printing isn’t widely used quite yet. At the moment, it’s mostly utilized for low-income and emergency housing, presenting itself as a viable solution to the ongoing global housing crisis.
Modular construction represents the process of constructing building parts (modules) off-site under controlled factory conditions, and then transporting them to their intended destination for on-site assembly. Although a fairly new trend, this form of construction has already shown great potential and true staying power. Whether it’s used for constructing offices, classrooms, sporting pavilions, or even healthcare facilities, modular building can deliver the same quality and standards as traditional construction. However, it also comes with shorter project completion times and lower costs, which might explain its sudden popularity, especially during periods of increased demand.
With the need for eco-friendliness continuing to rise among clients, the construction industry has no choice but to adapt. As a result, sustainability is becoming more prominent in this sector, and will likely become a priority in many countries around the world. Energy sources are renewable, green certificates such as LEED are becoming the norm, and the materials used in construction are recycled, reclaimed, green, and entirely sustainable. Even cities are becoming smarter and more eco-conscious, with public transport being more emphasized, smarter roads reducing emissions, and better waste management solutions eliminating common waste concerns.
Being a traditionally male-dominated industry, personal protective equipment (PPE) in construction was previously only designed for men’s bodies. This meant that women in the sector were forced to wear protective gear that was not only uncomfortable but also loose and ill-fitting, thus presenting a serious safety hazard. But as more women are entering the field of construction, this is slowly changing as well. PPE is now available in smaller sizes and different cuts, aiming to offer women in construction the same level of safety and protection, whether it’s smaller hardhats and protective footwear or safety vests and reflective clothing.
Although the construction industry is becoming more diverse and inclusive, the workforce as a whole is continuing to decline. Construction is constantly growing and the demand for skilled professionals is rising with it, but the number of available candidates is not. Labor shortages are worse than ever before, posing serious risks to construction firms that take on new projects without knowledgeable and experienced workers. While this situation likely won’t improve in the near future, providing competitive wages and benefits, offering bonuses and incentives, creating training programs, and investing in human resources might help in attracting and retaining top talent.
These trends are only a glimpse into the many aspects currently changing the construction industry. But in order to beat the competition and achieve success in 2022 and beyond, construction companies must evaluate their processes and aim to adapt to the above-mentioned tendencies.