The construction industry has gone through a rough few years, causing many companies to lose out on profits or be forced to delay projects they would have otherwise started. This, when combined with grim labor statistics around the lack of new laborers entering the workforce and baby boomers hitting the age of mass retirement, has created many difficulties for organizations looking for skilled workers to complete projects. These issues have caused many construction companies to seriously reconsider the ways in which they operate.
That being said, it’s not all doom and gloom – there are plenty of reasons for optimism heading into the new year, namely the explosion of new demand that is currently springing up due to the reopening of businesses and demand for new infrastructure. The future of construction is looking bright and there are plenty of ways for business owners to not only grow but thrive in 2023.
New and Exciting Trends in the Construction Industry
The trend of increased demand for construction isn’t going away soon. In fact, the prognosis for the long-term future of construction looks great. A study done by Oxford Economics suggests construction output in North America will grow by 32% from 2020 to 2030 — presenting many exciting opportunities for construction companies. Combined with the projected growth in the U.S. housing market (a rate of 2.0% every year until 2026), the demand for new construction projects — be they residential, business, or infrastructure — will be sustainable for the foreseeable future.
Innovation in building techniques and technologies are also playing a major role in shaping the future of the construction industry. These innovations allow companies to do more with less and increase overall efficiency across the board. For example, modular construction using prefabricated parts has started trending in the industry, helping organizations save up to 30% on their costs while also shortening their project schedules. This level of cost savings is only rivaled by the growing adoption of new technologies in the construction space, from highly advanced technology like robots, to better analytics and the common drone.
Taking Advantage of New Technology is Essential For Construction Companies in 2023
New innovation in the construction technology space has allowed companies to get more work done with a lower worker count. These advancements have proven their worth for many construction companies, and many more are jumping on the bandwagon in order to retain their competitive edge. Some of the most impactful technologies that the space has seen include drones, AI, and 3D innovations.
From surveying tracts of land for a new construction site to overseeing how operations are going on the ground, drones have become a major asset and their use will only continue to grow. In fact, drones can save up to 20x the cost of traditional methods of surveying, helping companies to quickly and more cost-effectively create topographical maps with the assistance of software programs. The enhanced visibility that drones can offer ensures that this technology is here to stay.
Task automation by artificial intelligence (AI) has already reached a level where it’s useful for construction companies. As this digital technology grows, so too will its practical applications. AI in the future could be used to create better schedules and timelines to help businesses avoid project delays. These tools can also be used to assist in the design process, helping specialists and engineers to get a clearer picture of what needs to be done.
In fact, AI can combine with pictures taken by drones for automatic topographical mapping or modeling software in order to build out realistic digital twins. This provides a significant advantage across the board, especially for land surveying and excavation work. Combining AI/ML technologies with drones can quickly survey areas, create up-to-date maps, and make accurate readings on elevation and material volume. By adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning as a new technology, the construction sector can finally take advantage of big data in the way that many other verticals have been doing for years.
Once thought of as an innovation straight out of science fiction, 3D printing has found its way into the construction market and is showing tremendous signs of success for organizations. According to Grand View Research, the 3D printing construction market is poised to grow by slightly more than 100% every year all the way up to 2030. The wide uptake of this technology is due to construction companies being able to make components that can meet highly specific requirements without much material waste, and in a fraction of the time that it would normally take to create them.
When excavating new ground, there are many issues that could spring up and result in higher – and unanticipated – spending. Everything from large boulders to unmarked utility wires add risk and unexpected costs to any venture. 3D scanning allows companies to survey what’s under the earth quickly and reliably so that they can identify these roadblocks before they even start, improving the quoting process and helping to make plans that keep projects on budget and on time.
These technological advancements are only a fraction of the innovations that are fundamentally changing the landscape of how we complete construction projects. Robotics, exoskeletons, and advanced data processing will also help to make projects more efficient than their traditional alternatives. As the industry grows, a higher reliance on technological solutions will be required for companies to maintain their competitive advantage.
The Future of Construction and What’s to Come
The construction industry is going through a time of transformation. These changes are ultimately positive, but will inevitably cause some growing pains in the industry. Shifting demographics and higher levels of global instability disrupting supply chains could lead to some organizations not being able to complete their projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. On top of those issues, labor shortages are playing a large role in the pressures felt by the industry today.
Labor Shortage is a Key Issue to Overcome
The construction industry is currently experiencing a labor shortage due to a combination of high demand and a dried-up talent pool. Finding enough new employees to meet the demand may be difficult for many construction companies, but taking steps to mitigate their lack of construction workers by relying more on technological solutions, offering better benefits and incentive packages, providing training and pathways to promotion, and more can help.
The Construction Industry Can Build on Its Successes
As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds. The demand for new construction is booming and organizations that can take advantage of new technologies and new ways of managing their employees will be rewarded. Drones, 3D printing, AI/ML technologies, and advancements in industry-specific technologies such as 3D scanning can all reduce the amount of labor that companies need in order to complete their projects on time and on budget. Construction contractors of all kinds, from pavers and excavators to home builders have a huge opportunity to innovate the way they go about their projects and set themselves up for success in the future. With large amounts of money pouring into the industry, now is the time to start innovating and investing in your future as a company.
Any major construction project has a laundry list of risks and responsibilities. From ensuring that workers remain safe to completing projects on time and within budgetary constraints, companies must take steps to ensure that not only are their current projects completed on time, but that workers and the company as a whole are protected. It pays to be informed of what’s coming up in the future. Download our industry report today to learn more about the future of construction.