Every year brings a list of new trends in the construction sector, and the year 2017 is a special year for them. Overall, there has been a constant demand for construction nationwide coupled with a labor shortage. This is expected to have a noticeable effect on most construction firms. Perhaps the biggest event affecting construction trends is the major election and inauguration of a populist candidate intent on seeing jobs stay in the United States, such as new factories, tech jobs and construction of new plants. The election still has companies concerned because it is early into President Trump’s term, and construction firms do not know what to expect. Different policies, executive orders and agenda will directly impact their business and have an effect on the industry. Here are a four construction trends to expect to maintain through the end of 2017.
Firms Will Take More Advantage of Augmented and Virtual Reality
For starters, augmented and virtual reality allows for collaboration with workers on the site and the stakeholders. In the past, stakeholders still collaborated in the form of meetings, updates and site visits, but with virtual reality devices, the collaboration can happen in real-time. In addition to that, the new augmented and virtual reality trend greatly improves project visualization. Augmented reality and virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive were used in the past to lead to this breakthrough, but a new devices like the Lenovo headset allows for motion tracking and virtual room room scaling. Advances in augmented reality and VR combined with real-time collaboration will lead to more companies adopting Building Information Modeling, which is the future of of advanced construction.
Labor Shortages Will Increasingly Hinder the Construction Business
Well, not all of the trends are going to be good. There has been a shortage in labor since 2008 due to the recession, and unless the administration can develop incentives for alternative education in skilled trades, the labor shortage is expected to continue. The problem is not a shortage of people needed jobs though. Instead, it is a problem of finding skilled labor. By 2011, the construction industry cut almost 2.3 million jobs, which was approximately 40 percent of its work force. While universities are focused on safe spaces and political correctness, educational opportunities in valuable trades, which pay very well, are being overlooked. The work is there, but sadly, trained people for the jobs are not.
The Foothold of Modular and Offsite Construction Will Grow Stronger
Because of concerns in the industry like the one listed above, time and quality, alternatives like modular construction has become more attractive. Modular construction, also known as prefab or offsite construction, is not something fresh to the industry, but it is trending now. When skilled labor shortages start affecting the quality and deadlines to finish projects, prefab construction makes itself financially attractive.
Labor and Material Costs Will Increase Construction Costs
This is definitely a negative trend to keep an eye on for contractors and consumers alike. There has been price cuts for materials, but according to Construction Drive, the decrease in the price of construction materials has been called the calm before the storm. The increase in construction costs has been one of the most prominent concerns among the 2017 trends. There is no way around it for now. The cost of doing business is going to go up, and despite decreased material costs, there will be increased labor costs because of the labor shortage, and the cost of materials will rise too, which is a trend by itself. Unfortunately, this trend will cause firms problems in maintaining their margins.
There are a myriad of trends predicted for 2017, and the four listed above are some of the more important ones. With any industry as big as construction, there is no way for everything to be perfect. The industry should keep an eye on the new administration and its nationalist policies and promises aimed at creating job growth and construction in the United States and make the most of the positive trends to mitigate the damages of the negative ones.