Each year, innovations and issues emerge that impact the construction industry, and this year is no exception. While it’s just the start of the new year, we’ve listed a few of our predictions for areas of focus and attention across the industry in the coming year. If you operate a construction or remodeling business, stay mindful of these residential construction trends.
- More Technology Integration
It may be time for the building and remodeling industry to implement innovations that can specifically help to save money and improve productivity. Additionally, technology is at the core of the other four construction trends we will discuss further in this article. Adopting advancements into your business could mean you’re less impacted by negative 2020 construction trends.
Rather than using technology singularly, technology apps and programs are integrating with one another and providing the ability for users to manage nearly all areas of the construction project. This means less time attempting to master a number of software programs and more time to concentrate your time and energy on being an expert at just one.
Also shaping the future of construction in technology is:
- Drones: Survey entire subdivision or multiple jobsites quickly, complete safety inspections, ensure materials are delivered and placed exactly how they should be, and so much more.
- 3D Printing: Reduce overall construction costs by building homes first in 3D to make sure materials are properly sized.
- Mobile and Cloud Applications: Remotely access all information pertinent to multiple construction projects and jobsites including drawings, delivery schedules and installation instructions.
- BIM Technology: Many commercial construction firms have used Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology for years, but experts agree BIM is growing in the residential sector, as it’s helping larger projects run more efficiently.
- Increase in Off-Site, Prefabrication and Modular Construction Projects
With material prices in flux and the labor market continuing to tighten, off-site and pre-construction practices make sense for construction firms looking to cut overall costs, improve productivity and shorten their construction timelines. The controlled factory environment improves construction safety by eliminating a lot of the hazards common on traditional construction sites. LP Building Solutions has a partnership with Entekra, an off-site framing manufacturer, which supports LP’s drive to be a leading building solutions provider for the industry.
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) reports prefabrication and modular construction projects are beginning to increase, after falling off considerably following the Great Recession. Share is expected to rise moderately due to the ongoing labor shortage in residential construction. In fact, the modular construction market has a projected annual growth rate of 6.9 percent, being valued at up to $157 billion by 2023.
- Increased Safety Equipment
Another construction industry trend that will continue into 2020 is the improving standards and use of better safety equipment products. Safety is a cornerstone for LP, so we are excited to hear of this advancing trend industry-wide.
Safety trends in construction are utilizing similar technology advancements that you are experiencing in your personal life, such as fitness trackers as wearable technology. Items like wearables and work boots connect to Wi-Fi and send GPS coordinates to supervisors, alerting them if workers have fallen or are too tired. While this technology will take time to be more commonplace, other advancements such as moisture-wicking fabric and cooling vests are now available to help keep workers safe. Caution to construction firm owners: As more women join the construction industry, employers need to ensure personal protection equipment (PPE) properly fit all employees, including women.
- Increased Regulatory Burdens
“Regulatory burdens on land and lot development is impacting prices,” says Robert Dietz, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist for NAHB. “The latest data shows that regulations account for 24.3 percent of the final price of a new single-family home, and 14.6 percent of the final house price is due to a higher price for a finished lot resulting from regulations imposed during the lot’s development.”
“As of 10 years ago, building codes were well established in most parts of the country and had been revised many times over a period of decades,” he continues. “A 9.2 percent increase since then does not mean all subsequent code changes have been unnecessary, but this does raise a question about how well possible cost impacts are being factored into the code revision process.”
- Labor Crisis…Still Going
The labor crisis is neither new nor trending, but it continues to impact the other trends, as well as overall housing affordability. “The impact of the labor shortage on home prices is particularly significant, as this is one of the factors contributing to the ongoing and serious problem of housing affordability,” says Dietz.
“This matches NAHB survey data that reveals access to skilled labor remains a top business challenge for builders, affecting a broad set of occupations. “We may be at a time when job openings rates for construction is leveling off, although at elevated levels. This is a continuing sign for the need for additional worker recruitment into the industry.”
As the construction industry is constantly evolving, it’s essential to stay up to date on product trends that help you stay competitive and offset additional costs. Take extra care to select products that reduce installation time or completely eliminate steps all together.