The Top Construction Trends for 2020
The new year is upon us, and with it comes a chance for innovation and change. Every year brings new building design and construction trends to watch for, and this year is no exception. Awareness of these advancements will ensure your building project is fresh and exciting, while also being relevant for the long-term. With that in mind, here are eight construction industry trends to watch in 2020:
1. Pre-engineered metal buildings
Pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMBs) basically eliminate the need to build “from scratch.” Instead, PEMBs are constructed using pre-engineered sections that can be placed together onsite. These sections are constructed off-site and shipped to the site when it’s time to erect the pieces.
This method saves both time and money. Because PEMBs consist of pre-built sections, each one can be assembled quickly using predetermined specifications. This means that projects get done much quicker and much cheaper than with traditional-style construction, which makes everyone happy.
2. Green building
As environmental concerns continue to escalate, every facet of business is affected. Construction is no exception. The past few years have seen an explosion of possibilities in construction as people work to meet the planet’s growing demand for healthy living and working spaces while remembering that our resources are finite.
With this in mind, green-minded building innovations have happened at every stage of construction – design, manufacturing, building, demolition, etc. Some of the green trends we’re seeing include incorporating more recycled materials into building projects, increasing energy efficiency, striving for longevity in building life, and delivering an environment that is safe and healthy for occupants.
As our population continues to grow, you can expect the need to be environmentally conscious to also grow. 2020 seems to be a year where these concerns are poised to move to the forefront.
3. Better safety equipment
In any industry, the safety of employees, employers and clients should always be a top priority, and the construction industry is helping lead the way. This is the reason that improvement and implementation of better safety equipment is another top construction industry trend moving into the new decade.
Many of the newest designs involve incorporating cutting-edge technology in construction clothing. For example, Wi-Fi-connected boots can monitor a person’s vitals and deliver real-time telemetric information on the individual’s level of fatigue and concentration. This clothing can also send GPS coordinates, which could help locate workers in the event of an emergency.
Other technological innovations include easier to use safety harnesses, more accurate site sensors that constantly monitor an area for carbon monoxide and other emissions, and phone apps that can be used to track and monitor workers when they are alone onsite.
4. Use of drones
No longer a novelty, drones have become a normal part of our everyday experience. So, it only makes sense that they would also become a valuable part of the construction process.
Today, construction workers use drones for all sorts of tasks on jobsites. They’re great for conducting visual inspections of work in progress to see how projects are moving. They can be used as a survey tool, as well as to identify the next stage of a project without having to move everyone around. They are also useful in monitoring workers who might be in a difficult or dangerous position, adding one more important layer of safety. Drones are now a relatively inexpensive form of technology, which means you can get all of these benefits and more at a low cost.
5. Construction management software
Like drones, the idea of using software to assist with a construction project isn’t new by itself, but recent innovations have made software a game-changer. Computers and software are an integral part of just about every aspect of a construction project. But the real change is that it’s become easy to design custom software so that programs can be tailor-made to fit a client’s specific project needs.
With just a few clicks, project managers can keep an eye on inventory, time management, design specifications and anything else that’s important to a building owner. Equipment rentals and safety monitoring are also made easier (remember those drones?). Construction management software can give you a live feed whenever you need it, allowing you to see important information in real-time.
With programs like Procore, Bobbitt’s management software, should a change need to be made, a few clicks can send the information to everyone up and down the chain who needs to be kept in the loop. No more worrying about how you’re going to get information to the right people – today’s software and mobile app integration make it easy to share relevant project details.
6. Design-build construction
Another hot trend for 2020 is the design-build construction method. This represents a paradigm shift in how construction jobs are handled, leading to a leaner, more efficient way of doing business.
In a traditional construction job, there are two separate (and sometimes competing) entities: the designer and the contractor, or builder. The owner of the site needs to be able to communicate effectively between both of these parties. Should a problem arise or a change need to be made, there is a lot of back and forth before a solution can be applied. In addition, problems can result finger-pointing between the various responsible parties.
With design-build, however, this problem goes away, because the designer and builder of the project work together on the same team. Because one entity is the single point of contact and fully responsible for all aspects of the job, there is much less back and forth, less energy spent and less hassle for the building owner. In short, everyone wins because less time, money and energy are spent in completing the project.
7. Building information modeling
BIM, or building information modeling, is another high-tech advancement that has been growing in popularity over the years. BIM involves the use of sophisticated imaging technology to represent buildings, utilities, geographical features and other important aspects about a site and structure. This visual representation is used by designers, contractors and clients alike to visualize the project and get more information about it before the job begins.
This information is important because it allows contractors to devise solutions to problems long before they are encountered. By knowing what to expect ahead of time, builders can tackle these challenges head-on, prepared and ready.
BIM also helps designers estimate how materials will hold up over long periods of time, and subcontractors can estimate their time and cost more accurately.
In short, BIM allows all project associates to better understand their role and what they need to do to be successful.
As you can see, 2020 is already shaping up to be a year full of exciting advancements. As the new year unfolds, we’ll see which of these trends has the biggest impact overall. Regardless of the outcome, this is sure to be a year full of change and growth.