Three Construction Trends to Think About in 2017

Construction industry professionals have slowed down with the winter months. It is the time of year to start focusing and strategically planning on how to get the most out of the opportunities in 2017. Let’s look at three trends to watch this year.

With the continued growth in the economy, nonresidential construction will continue to grow as well.

In 2017, the forecast for nonresidential construction is predicted to go up 6.5% compared to 5.6% in 2016. Although there has been continued growth in the economy, there is still a lot of uncertainty in how long it can be sustained. As stated in the new U.S. Construction Outlook Heading into 2017 from ContructConnect, this is partially due to the presidential election. Job growth is expected to go up in the

U. S., especially with the push to bring jobs back from overseas. Combine that with low-interest rates and continued population growth, the need for more construction will continue to increase.

”The +0.7% per year figure for the U.S. (or more than 2.5 million people annually) implies more consumer spending, which propels GDP, and a future need for housing and essential commercial and institutional support structures, which sets in motion more construction.”

To cash in on the growth, subcontractors and general contractors looking to increase bids and partnerships will need to adapt to new technology.

“Those who are ill informed about change will be at risk for a rough future,” James Canton

Adopting the latest technology for usage in construction

Being able to closely monitor construction progress as well as maintain a close relationship with crew members can help reduce the cost of the overall project. Collaboration and communication between the field and office help keep everyone informed of the latest developments in a project. This is especially key when there are several ongoing projects happening at the same time. There are plenty of options for construction industry professionals to take advantage of, from smartphones and tablets to software in the cloud that allows contractors to communicate in real-time and collaborate from the office to job site. Drones are making an impact.

Recently, Gizmag had a discussion with Skycatch CEO Christian Sanz, and he talked about how drones are poised to help the construction industry.

“Right now, drone technology is providing a competitive edge to the companies who’ve successfully adopted it,” Sanz says.

“They use their equipment and resources more efficiently, communicate better through accurate maps and data, and now have highly quantitative means of measuring their progress against their schedule. In the future, the construction industry will realize aggregate benefits such as a much better safety record and fewer projects that are completely late and off budget.”

While some companies struggle with the decision to move from paper plans to desktop software, others struggle to make the leap to cloud-based solutions. Cloud technology allows companies to establish the ultimate collaborative experience, but the construction industry continues to be one of the slowest in technology adoption. 3D printing is also changing the construction industry in several ways, including reducing costs and improving project planning. For example, a special piece or form can be 3D printed from a piece thousands of miles from the construction site.

Green Projects are expected to increase

More and more companies are starting to see the benefits in green building designs, which will drive up the demand for green construction. The initial cost of going green will cost companies more, but there are several social, environmental, and economic benefits which include:

●    Improving air and water quality

●    Reducing operating costs

●    Improving quality of life

●    Improving occupant health and comfort

The Green Generation is here, and it includes Millennials and Baby Boomers. Companies that invest in green building will profit from consumers that seek products and services that are provided by companies that are eco–conscious. A new study completed by Dodge Data and Analytics points out that although green building is expected to double by 2018, the growth for some developing countries is still far greater than that of the U. S. China will see growth from 5% to 28% and Brazil expects to see growth 6% to 36%.

“In the U.S., the highest percentage of respondents report that they expect to work on new green institutional projects (such as schools, hospitals, and public buildings), green retrofits of existing buildings and new green commercial construction (such as office and retail buildings) in the next three years. When compared with global averages, it becomes clear that the U.S. is a leader in new green institutional construction and green retrofits of existing buildings.”

In a poll given to 150 green experts in 2010, it was concluded that the five most important green buildings are the following:

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies in Oberlin, Ohio

The California Academy of Science in San Francisco, California

Genzyme Center located in Cambridge, Mass

Boddington Zero Energy Development in London

Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, MD

The construction industry has a lot to look forward to in 2017. The ability to capitalize on the various technologies available will be what helps some companies excel more than others. Are you putting your team in position to prevail?

Got comments? Did I miss something? Comment below…

Karl T. S. Jackson is a Project Manager and frequently speaks with students from middle school through college about personal development and how choices they make affect their future. He enjoys writing about business, youth professional and personal development, and personal experiences. You can also connect with him on G+.

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