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Construction Technology: 10 Commercial Construction Trends
Every new year, construction experts begin focusing their attention on new developments and trends in the industry. The commercial construction industry has seen dramatic shifts and dynamic changes, especially within the last decade. With new building technologies, integrated workforce management trends and improved project planning and delivery methods, we expect to see more changes transforming how construction is done today.
With growing demand for more innovative and sustainable construction, experts in the industry are quickly adapting to new commercial construction trends and developments.
According to a Construct Connect report, a 6.3% growth forecast was expected this 2017 from 2016, with up to 7.2% more spending expected on construction going into 2018.
A huge driver of this growth and increased spending in the industry is the adoption of new construction technology and trends.
While there is still a feeling of uncertainty looming over the industry, despite the positive gains, we see construction trends in the commercial sector dominating the conversations and shaping the industry.
Here are our top ten new technologies and trends to look out for this coming year.
Construction Technology: 10 Commercial Construction Trends
1. Collaborative Project Delivery
With design-build processes becoming more integrated, collaborative project delivery is becoming more common. Experts in the building and construction industry are increasingly embracing project team collaboration. This commercial construction trend has been at the forefront in 2017 and is expected to gain more ground in the coming years.
Organizing design-build thoughts and ideas between owner-architect-contractor allow better project collaboration and execution. Consolidating the entire design and construction phase into one contract helps collectively determine the key project goals, costs, project risks and compensation. Collaborative design-build ensures faster product delivery.
2. Smart Buildings
Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology is fast changing how things are connected in our everyday lives. Smart buildings are quickly becoming the main focus in modern commercial construction. Construction experts are using information technology to connect key building systems, people, devices and even the global environment, and the technology is quickly becoming one of the most adopted commercial construction trends today.
The application of the Internet of Things as a post-construction technology has seen the automation of processes that are key to building operation such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security in completed commercial buildings. The technology makes use of smart devices, microchips, sensors to collect data that manage it based on a building’s functionality.
While this construction technology is already widely used in the residential sector, the technology is also becoming more prevalent in the commercial construction industry as business owners and facility managers look for ways to optimize their use of space, minimize environmental impact and reduce energy usage.
3. CNC Solutions for Building
With growing demand to simplify today’s more complex commercial building process, architects and designers are using CNC machines to produce accurate scale models of proposed construction projects. Construction models often require an extremely high level of detail, and with the use of advanced CNC machining technology, construction experts are now able to complete precise models in a matter of days.
CNC machines are increasingly being used to create architectural elements, such as cabinetry, doors, moldings and casework for commercial construction projects. Walk into any commercial building today, and you’ll see some evidence of CNC machining as a commercial construction trend at every turn. With CNC building solutions, architects and designers can now reliably meet demand and stay on pace.
4. 3D and 5D Building Information Modeling Technology
Modern Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology has in the last few years gained more attention as construction experts look for dependable technology to create better building plans, produce faster building results and stay within budget. Part of this technology involves using additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology to provide more effective building solutions.
5D BIM is also being considered as a game-changer for the construction industry as it provides everyone involved in a construction project, including the client, a more accurate understanding of conceptual design as it applies to both the building project’s schedule and budget. It simply links 3D CAD components of standard BIM with cost-related data and project delivery timelines.
The combination of 3D and 5D Building Information Modeling allows construction experts to show clients in real-time how changes to building materials, layouts and other design elements impact the overall appearance of the building, construction schedule and cost of the build. This commercial construction trend helps create a more precise and clear project scope.
5. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are yet another up-and-coming trend in the commercial construction industry. Construction experts are using drones to get real-time views as they monitor the progress of building projects. Using pre-determined flight paths, the drones are controlled remotely to help construction experts conduct site surveys by generating detailed maps, aerial photos and 3D images. This technology also helps ensure worksite safety.
6. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
A number of construction firms across the world are using the power of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to transform their building plans and structural layouts from the standard two-dimensional page into interactive layouts. This allows project owners to walk through projects and experience key elements of the building layout before the build even starts.
There is no doubt that VR and AR are one of the most talked-about commercial construction trends today as stakeholders embrace the technology to enhance collaboration in building projects. With immersive technology, construction teams can detect errors ahead of time to avoid costly mistakes.
7. Prefabrication/Modular Construction
While prefabrication has been in use for many years in the construction industry, new technologies and building practices that make prefabrication and modular construction even more refined are emerging. With building information modeling changing the way teams collaborate on projects, construction teams are now able to use prefabrication on a larger and more complex scale.
The recent growth in green construction technology has also impacted the use of the prefabrication technology in commercial construction. Using simulation technology, project teams can now design and construct buildings that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
8. Labor Shortage
This is one of the expected commercial construction trends that construction stakeholders have been watching over the last decade. Unfortunately, things are only getting worse as more construction firms struggle with finding qualified workers. Construction labor shortage is one of the bigger concerns that continues to plague the industry, and the hardest hit areas are those with the highest demand for construction.
9. Rising Construction Costs
Industry experts have also cited escalating costs of doing business as one of the growing trends this year. With rising labor and construction material costs, construction firms will likely struggle to consistently maintain their margins in the coming year. The construction industry has been expecting this after a few years of relatively flat growth.
10. Green Building Technology
As construction firms lean more towards sustainable construction, green building technology as a commercial construction trend is gaining more attention in the industry. Construction firms are putting more resources into the structuring and application of building processes that are more environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout a building’s lifecycle. Sustainable building techniques are being applied from planning to design, operation, construction, maintenance, renovation and even demolition projects.
Commercial construction firms must continuously adapt to new developments and changes in the industry to remain competitive. Construction firms should stay up-to-date with new and upcoming trends in the industry and align them with their project goals. New construction technology is paving the way for more efficient project delivery.
Additionally, reliable supply of construction materials and the need for design-build consultations that adapt to the latest commercial construction trends is critical to ensuring smooth project delivery. If you’re looking for reliable supply chain solutions for your aluminum and steel construction projects, contact MSI for unmatched service delivery. Construction Technology: 10 Commercial Construction Trends.