The New Year is upon us, and it’s time to consider some key trends that will affect the Construction industry in 2018 and beyond. Here are four important ones to consider as you get organized and prepare for the year ahead.
1) Industry growth will remain stable.
Coming off a few years of moderate growth, 2018 will show signs of a slow-down. According to Moody’s 2018 Global Construction Outlook Report, the U.S. will see mid-single digit growth, but competitive market conditions will limit the margin upside. In residential construction, growth will be moderate because of low interest rates and an upswing in job creation, but inventory shortages will likely limit profits.
With narrow margins and increased competition, construction firms will need to find ways to trim costs and work efficiently, as well as differentiate themselves in bidding scenarios. Project tracking software and mobile technologies can help workers and stakeholders communicate effectively to eliminate delays and stay on-track and on-budget.
2) The cost of materials will continue to rise.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of materials has risen 4.8 percent over the past year. The National Association of Home Builders reported that softwood lumber prices are rising as a result of the dispute between the U.S. and Canada. NAHB economist David Logan reported that remodeling projects in f Texas and Florida may drive up demand for drywall, causing prices to climb. And many feel that President Trump’s promise to limit imports has empowered steel mills to issue price increases.
These developments along with market uncertainties and rising energy prices will continue to drive up the cost of materials in 2018. Combined with the ongoing labor shortage in the industry, rising materials costs put construction firms in a bind, and cost-cutting measures will be necessary to ensure reasonable profit margins.
3) Modular construction will help firms save money, build faster.
Particularly in multi-unit build projects, off-site modular construction is gaining traction as a way to build faster and cheaper. The construction of multiple building elements can take place simultaneously at a location other than the main construction jobsite, helping firms meet tight completion deadlines. For example, building can continue despite weather conditions at the jobsite, helping to avoid delays. Prefabricated off-site, modules can be transported to a jobsite when crews are ready.
To reap the financial benefits of this approach, firms must implement the same regulations and safety precautions they observe at the jobsite, at off-site facilities. Construction cameras can be used to ensure all regulations are followed and safety measures met consistently, and that off-site crews consistently follow established processes. Additionally, they can help project managers stay informed about the progress of off-site projects.
4) Technology will continue to transform the industry.
New technologies are transforming the way construction firms operate, helping to reduce safety risk and theft, lower costs, improve collaboration and boost jobsite productivity.
Mobile technologies and project management software help to connect workers at headquarters and remote prefab sites with crews and project managers, as well as with remote stakeholders. Drones help many firms reduce costs associated with land surveys and inspections. Wearables are becoming more common on the jobsite, as are sensors that monitor the use and condition of jobsite equipment.
3D modeling, which construction firms can use to visualize construction models before a project starts, is helping reduce material costs by enabling more exact calculations and forecasting. As firms increasingly use 3D models, 3D printing will become more common. Giant 3D printers can produce 3D designs layer by layer, providing design precision and flexibility and, ultimately, cutting costs.
Expect to see the application of virtual and augmented reality solutions. Combined with 3D modeling, these technologies can be used to map out construction projects and identify project requirements and pitfalls in advance, so firms can avert extraneous costs.
Construction cameras will continue to be an essential technology for ensuring safety on the jobsite, deterring theft, augmenting project documentation and enabling better communication among all stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle.
Try a live TrueLook demo to see how we can help you increase efficiencies and improve project tracking and security throughout the lifecycle of your construction projects.