Most of the construction we witness today is a direct result of the Second Industrial Revolution. This is the era that has benefited from many socioeconomic movements and advancements in technology: unions protecting workers; protective equipment becoming standard; planning using economies of scale; electronic inventions; pre-fabrication; and computer-aided design. Construction trends leading into 2020 start with the off-site construction of modular units.
Construction in 2020 is directly addressing the intensified weather challenges faced by the world. This has brought about greater demands for sustainability and resiliency. This naturally affects the policies, regulations and laws governing the construction industry.
Modular construction allows up to 80% of the project to be finished off-site. This avoids weather delays, offering a stable and consistent environment. This makes the construction process 65% faster.
Normally, the new technology would lead the way in describing how the construction industry would function in 2020. While natural disaster protection is paramount, the new tech is exciting. AR and VR lead the technology advancements. Virtual reality (VR)is being used to give new clients a feel for their proposed projects before building starts. Augmented Reality (AR) the process of using a real-time construction project with digital images added to highlight specific details. These technologies are also being used to train construction workers to improve their skills.
Because of the increase in damage caused by natural disasters: wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods, the United States spent $16 billion to repair the damage caused in one year alone. This has forced local governments to focus on construction resiliency to ensure buildings are left standing after these disasters.
Most of the entities connect the proliferation of disastrous weather to climate change and therefore want to promote environmentally friendly construction. The new advanced tools include drones, robots and more precise measuring devices. Drones using sensors are being used to survey sites, transport parts and tools, for site security, for 3-D mapping of the area and tracking the construction progress. Construction robots are being used to reduce construction injuries, conduct repetitive tasks, and to reduce the cost of labour.
Policy changes are others forcing construction to change in 2020. Last year’s tax changes placed new emphasis on investment in public projects and spending on infrastructure. And, all new construction is being targeted for its natural disaster resiliency. In addition, construction reporting of revenue and expenses has changed with annual revenue of $10 million or more if you take advantage of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction.
Another major improvement in construction is the use of Construction management software. Managers can integrate this software onsite. They are using it to group their tasks: scheduling, project management and timekeeping.
Enhanced safety at the site
Safety is yet another aspect of construction that will continue to see improvements. Worker safety is paramount. It is better accomplished with work boots that are equipped with Wi-Fi and that receive GPS coordinates. These boots can detect if the worker has fallen or otherwise in trouble. Worker clothing will be able to moisture -wick and cool the wearer. Comfortable workers tend to be more focused on increasing their productivity.
Shortage of labour
The one negative that 2020 construction faces are the shortage of skilled labour. Beginning years ago, this shortage will continue into 2020 and even more, workers will retire. There is a solution, but that comes with the recruitment of willing trainees and months to years of intensive training. The most needed workers are skilled craftsmen.
The construction industry in 2020 will be much more prepared to complete projects more economically, faster, greener, with more resiliency and with worker safety in mind. Having learned through trial and error, the construction industry will take these steps into the future willingly and happily as each step is taken because of experience.