2018 Construction Trends
The commercial construction industry experienced a robust 2017, and the first quarter of 2018 suggests more of the same. As we look ahead to the rest of the year, it’s interesting to note some of the biggest trends shaping the industry. Some of these trends indicate a shift in how those of us in the construction industry approach each project, while other trends highlight the ever-evolving technology that is pushing its way into construction and changing the way we do things.
- Sustainability. Whether incorporating a few key sustainable elements or building a completely net-zero product, green construction continues to be at the forefront of today’s construction. Recycling, repurposing building materials and considering approaches that include wind, solar and other sustainable forms of energy are becoming more and more common. As these practices become more mainstream, the cost of green construction will continue to go down, making it more feasible and resulting in a greater number of properties achieving LEED certification.
- Resiliency. As extreme weather appears to be the new normal, more and more property owners are heeding the advice of organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, which calls for resilient site and structure features that enable construction to adapt and thrive to rapidly changing weather conditions. For many, this trend in resiliency represents a new approach to design and construction, resulting in properties that are built to better withstand extended heat waves, stronger wind storms, high precipitation and more frequent ice storms.
- Office space. Office space represented the greatest percentage of growth in the area’s commercial market in 2017, a trend that appears to be continuing in 2018. More and more national and international organizations are looking to our area to relocate or establish headquarters, not least of which is the highly anticipated potential arrival of Amazon’s HQ2.
- Safety. Keeping construction sites and those that work in them safe has always been a challenge, but emerging technology is giving construction managers innovative new ways to mitigate safety risks on job sites. These include offering virtual reality simulators to more effectively train workers, mobile apps to prevent safety issues and using drones to conduct inspections, survey remote areas and access hard-to-reach areas.
- Technology. New technologies are emerging with incredible speed. Their implementation can increase productivity, encourage collaboration, reduce costs and promote connectivity. Some of the more relevant technology that appears most likely to gain traction in the way we do business on a daily basis are:
- 3D printing
- Augmented and virtual reality
- Mobile and cloud applications
- Construction management software
- Building Information Modeling (BIM).
It’s an exciting time for the construction industry. Continued growth, along with rapidly emerging technology, make for a dynamic playing field that’s evolving before our eyes.