The construction industry is now facing the evolution that should have happened years ago. New technologies and materials are being developed all the time, which means that those working in the sector need to keep up with the latest trends to stay ahead of competition.
As we all know, the construction industry is now facing the evolution that should have happened years ago. New technologies and materials are being developed all the time, which means that those working in the sector need to keep up with the latest trends if they want to stay ahead of the competition and use the potential that the industry has still undeveloped. In this article, we will be looking at nine of the biggest trends in the construction industry, in brief, trying to present their concepts and meaning. These trends have the power to transform the sector, so make sure you read until the end to be familiar with these terms before they are everywhere.
1. From BIM to DIM
The term “Building Information Modeling” (BIM) will evolve as Digital Information Management, transforming the acronym and bringing it to more people. The goal is to create a broader knowledge, acceptance and use of BIM concepts in the industry. This can only be done by leveraging people’s language and delivering the same message differently.
One of the biggest advantages of BIM is that it allows for better communication among project stakeholders and other actors. BIM is not dead, we are redefining it, enhancing the information part within the models and being able to show it as a way to manage the information digitally, which is something way easier to understand and accept. This will help to promote understanding and adoption of BIM methods throughout the construction industry to be ready for the change that is happening in a sector that is ready to start its digitalization.
2. Construction robotics
The use of construction robotics is becoming more and more prevalent in the construction industry. Construction robots are able to complete many tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming, which can speed up the building processes. They also decrease human-induced mistakes and fatigue losses, ensuring the safety of risky or hazardous jobs. While the potential for construction robotics is great, their use has some limitations. For example, they may not be able to navigate certain obstacles or work in certain weather conditions. However, with continued development, construction robotics has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and safety of the construction industry.
3. Advanced building materials
The future of building materials looks promising as researchers continue to develop new and more advanced components. One trend is the use of advanced building materials that are more effective and longer lasting than traditional materials. These materials are also becoming increasingly affordable, making them a more viable option for construction projects.
One example of advanced building material is graphene. Graphene is a thin, transparent material made from carbon that is stronger than steel and has many other useful properties. It can be used to create lightweight and durable coatings for buildings, which can help to protect them from weather damage and other wear and tear. Graphene is also a good thermal conductor, meaning it can be used to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
Another promising advanced building material is calcium silicate board. This material is made from natural materials such as sand clay and lime and is resistant to fire, moisture and pests. It is also non-toxic and environmentally friendly. In the future, we can expect to see even more advanced building materials being developed that will offer even more benefits for homeowners and builders alike.
4. Offsite construction (Prefabrication)
Offsite construction or prefabricated construction is a construction method where building elements are manufactured in a factory or workshop away from the construction site before being delivered and assembled on-site. This type of construction has been around for centuries, but it has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years due to the many advantages it offers.
Some of the benefits of offsite construction include:
- Faster construction times: Because the building components are manufactured in a factory, they can be assembled much more quickly on-site than traditional construction methods.
- Reduced waste: Offsite construction results in less waste on-site, as there is no need to cut and shape materials on-site.
- Reduced labor costs: The use of prefabricated components reduces the need for manual labor on-site, thereby reducing labor costs.
- Reduced environmental impact: Offsite construction results in less noise and dust pollution on-site and produces less waste than traditional construction methods.
5. Connected construction site
One of the biggest shifts was the introduction of connected construction sites. A connected construction site is a network of construction equipment, vehicles, devices, people and sites that communicate with one another via wireless or digital technologies under the umbrella of a single business or organization.
There are many advantages to having a connected construction site:
- It enables real-time communication between all members of the team, which can improve efficiency and safety.
- It allows for sharing data and resources among team members, which can help reduce costs.
- It provides a centralized view of all activity on the job site, which can help improve planning and coordination.
- The future of construction is undoubtedly connected. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more advantages brought about by connected construction sites with more solutions being built on the IoT platform.
6. Construction monitoring with drones
Another popular technology that is being used in the construction industry is drones. They are becoming more and more popular in a variety of industries and construction is no exception.
Drones offer a unique perspective that can help with a variety of tasks, such as site surveys, mapping and even safety inspections. They are being used more and more for construction monitoring because they can help reduce costs. For example, drones can be used to survey a construction site before work begins so that the site can be mapped out and planning can begin. This can save time and money since it eliminates the need to send someone to physically survey the site.
Drones can also be used to track the progress of a project; by having a live view of the construction site, developers and contractors can identify potential problems early and fix them before they become bigger issues. Another advantage is to document the progress of a project so that there is a record of how it was built.
Safety is an important concern in the construction industry. Drones can be used to perform safety inspections of a construction site. They can help identify any potential hazards and prevent accidents from happening and also monitor workers to make sure they are following safety guidelines. The use of drones for construction monitoring is still in its early stages, but it has great potential. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more uses for drones in building sites.
7. Digital twins
Digital twin technology is already having a transformative impact on the construction industry. By creating a virtual model of a construction project that is updated in real-time, the digital twin can help construction managers make better decisions and avoid problems. For example, by simulating different scenarios and seeing how they would play out in real life, construction managers can determine the most efficient way to build a structure and avoid potentially costly mistakes. A digital twin can even be used after the construction project is completed to help with maintenance and repairs.
Additionally, machine learning serves to improve the accuracy of simulations over time, making the whole process even more effective. In short, the digital twins are poised to revolutionize the way construction projects are managed, saving time and money while ensuring that projects are completed on schedule and within budget.
8. Green building
It’s no surprise, then, that green building is now becoming a trend in the industry, with more and more builders and designers looking to create eco-friendly structures. There are many different aspects that need to be considered when designing and constructing a green building, from energy efficiency to using non-toxic materials.
One of the main benefits of green building is that it can help reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for nearly 40% of energy use in the United States, so making them more energy-efficient can have a significant impact on overall emissions levels. Green buildings also tend to use less water than traditional buildings, which can help conserve this valuable natural resource. Another important consideration when creating a green building is choosing environmentally friendly materials. Many sustainable materials are available today, including bamboo, cork, wool carpeting and low-VOC paint. These materials not only benefit the environment but can also improve the quality of life for occupants, as they often do not contain harmful chemicals or other pollutants.
It’s clear that green building is becoming an increasingly important trend in the construction industry and it’s something that all builders and designers should be aware of. By considering the many different aspects of green design, they can create structures that are both environmentally friendly and beneficial for occupants, considering the following aspects:
- Energy efficiency
- Use of renewable energy sources
- Pollution and trash reduction initiatives
- Facilitation of reusing and recycling
- Excellent indoor air quality condition
- Non-toxic, ethical and sustainable materials
- Environmental considerations in design, construction and operation
- Consideration of occupant quality of life in design, construction and operation
- A design that allows for adaptability to a changing environment
9. Circular economy and product passports
One of the main initiatives within the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) is the digital product passports program, which is a component of the planned Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation. By 2024, a digital product passport should be gradually introduced in at least three significant markets, according to the initiative’s stated objectives.
Measures that will be introduced under the new action plan aim to make sustainable products the norm in the EU with a focus on the sectors that use most resources and where the potential for circularity is high such as electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, food, water and nutrients.
The main goal is to include material properties in what is called a ‘Digital Product Passport’ (DPP) to trace and make sure that all the components are properly recycled and treated after their use. Being able to follow their impact during its production, use and decomposition.
The construction industry is under pressure to become more efficient and adopt new technologies to improve the flow of information and construction processes. Data collection and analysis are crucial to improving efficiency and technologies like BIM are central for collecting, connecting and improving flow. With advanced materials, new methods of construction and a focus on sustainability, the whole sector will shift in a new direction.
The adoption of new technologies will continue to be a key trend in the construction industry, as firms strive to become more efficient and improve communication. Still, sustainability will also remain a key concern, as construction companies seek to reduce their environmental impact and apply the circular economy procedures being reviewed by international organizations toward a net zero waste.
Author: Enrique Nadales Clavero, Tequma & TylkoAdvisors