7 Construction Trends 2016: What To Watch

construction trendsConstruction starts are expected to reach 6 percent growth to $712 billion in 2016. Experts are bullish on construction opportunities this year, albeit with a few concerns to monitor. Here are seven noteworthy trends to follow in the construction industry in 2016.

Slowdown in multifamily sector

Multifamily construction starts are expected to slow down to only 480,000 units in 2016. While other sectors continue to match the boom of construction, multifamily construction is expected to only experience a 5 percent growth this year. The resurgence of the U.S. economy is seen as the leading factor in the sector switch.

Increased interest in Building Information Modeling (BIM) for commercial construction

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is quickly becoming an industry standard for commercial construction, not just the luxury of bigger builds. BIM produces a single file detailing all potential construction engineering and architecture conflicts in 3D. Building owners and contractors are leveraging BIM at all levels of implementation to fully optimize construction timeline and costs.

Remodeling will lead commercial construction growth

Business owners are showing an increased interest in repurposing existing commercial space, especially in urban districts, in contrast to building ground-up construction. Pat FitzGerald, Managing Principal of FitzGerald Associates Architects, shared, “Adapting and reusing an existing building with an already non-conforming status may also allow a larger building than current zoning permits, and often results in projects with more character than new construction.” Adaptive construction tends to be more cost-effective and faster for companies.

Continued adoption of energy-efficient construction

Commercial construction continues to lead the charge of energy-efficient construction. Green building and LEED certification are becoming more standard practice due to the greater life-cycle savings. Business owners will begin expecting energy-efficiency to be included in bigger build bids.

Lack of skilled laborers will adversely affect construction firms

The U.S. recession experienced a mass exodus of skilled workers from the construction industry, a reality that still affects all sectors in 2016. Immigration changes are also leading to higher construction costs moving forward.

Jobsite accidents and criminal indictments are rising

OSHA is increasing its fines in 2016 for the first time since 1990. Incident investigations in 2014-2015 reveal a significant amount of jobsite accidents directly linked to unsafe and illegal construction practices, including bribery, fraud, money laundering and safety violations. OSHA’s increased penalties show their intent to act on construction negligence and criminal activity in 2016.

Homebuyer interests will favor walking and public transportation distance over driving

Last fall, the American Institute of Architects reported that “public transportation” and “walkable communities” scored toward the top of desired community amenities for prospective U.S. homeowners. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker shared, “There has been a pronounced shift in driving habits over the last few years, with increasing numbers of people being far more interested walking and utilizing public transit options.”

We’re also seeing a tremendous use of on-site construction camera technology in 2016. From live job site reviews to project time-lapses, TrueLook provides you the access you need to manage your build from any location. We’ve delivered over 2 billion jobsite images to clients over the past 18 years. Contact us today to start a conversation about keeping a better eye on your construction.