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Challenges of rising construction costs and labor shortages demand that the construction industry innovate with competitive new ideas. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how the construction industry does business. Many industry trends continue to emerge from the pandemic and are changing the roles of industry professionals and frontline workers.
Here are 9 major construction industry trends to look for in 2022:
Shortage of laborers
One very noticeable construction trend is a tremendous increase in the demand for labor. Quality labor is expensive and competitive. More educated workers will be needed to manage and interpret the data produced by new technology.
Remote worksites and mobile access
Mobile applications for construction permit and facilitate work site access including real-time inspections, on-site accountability and accurate measurements taken from a mobile phone camera.
Modular and offsite construction
Modular and prefab construction are experiencing multiyear rapid growth that is not slowing down. The modular construction market, led by the residential sector, is predicted to significantly increase to almost $110 billion by 2025, driven by a lack of skilled labor and an increase in cost-cutting technology.
Increasing material costs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index for construction goods increased by 17% year over year in 2021. Rising interest rates are likely to compound all types of costs, resulting in further pressure on total construction costs. Technologies like drones, AR and BIM will be key in helping to maintain project volume and combat this cost pressure.
Construction management software
Comprehensive construction management software is a vital tool for remaining competitive, building a valuable business and mastering operational efficiency. The best software addresses requirements from RFIs to compiling data, sharing files with mobile teams, budgeting, document storage, payroll and HR, and inventory monitoring.
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted the construction industry by affecting construction site guidelines with updated state regulations emphasizing cleanliness and strict safety protocols.
There is a growth of new devices capable of identifying common safety issues. For example: wearable items like work boots are connected to Wi-Fi alert others if a person has fallen; material-moving “mules” transport heavy or hazardous materials; specialized robots construct scaffolding or lay bricks autonomously; headsets actively reduce noise pollution and environmental sensors detect noise, heat and wind at construction sites to provide warnings to construction workers about emergency or natural disaster situations.
Green construction is the expected standard for homebuyers, renters and commercial tenants. Unfortunately, many sustainable and eco-friendly features remain out of reach, despite their long-term savings. This may change over the next decade as eco-tech and sustainable construction become more acceptable and affordable.
Focus on residential projects
The demand for residential housing keeps growing and residential construction spending rose nearly 25% in 2021. Residential starts are expected to increase by 7% in 2022.
These cities are more intricate and interconnected than most megaprojects and require intense planning and development prior to their beginning. The global smart city market is expected to grow 20.5%, reaching $2.5 trillion by 2025.
These industry trends are rapidly changing the market and the construction industry must adopt new practices, leverage new technologies and invest in new projects to reduce risk, win more contracts and enjoy profitability.
Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and is the Director of Business Development at JL Architects, a West Chester-based architectural firm serving clients locally, regionally and nationally. He can be reached at [email protected] or 717-575-8572.