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Construction is going strong — the latest construction industry statistics show a booming sector. Yet, at the same time, the margin for error has shrunk due to the on-going labor shortage.

The good news is technology-based trends are beginning to transform the construction site rapidly. In response to this new normal, companies are looking to workers that can manage these innovations. As markets shift and the industry becomes more competitive, harnessing these trends, alongside the top talent to manage them, will prove valuable for any construction firm.

New technology is keeping projects on schedule and moving faster with improvements in sustainability, efficiency, and safety. Stay competitive and gain an edge — read on to learn about must-know 2020 construction trends.

  1. DronesOne of the fastest-growing trends is drone usage — it has been rising by 239% every year. Aerial drones improve accuracy and safety by producing thermal images and aerial heat maps over long distances. More advanced future uses include incorporating AI to organize moving construction equipment and monitoring equipment use.Advancing drone software has begun to provide actionable, real-time, data that can be used for rapid decision making — streamlining the entire construction process. In addition to mapping, recently, drones are being leveraged as on-site security tools to reduce labor costs and minimize the risk of theft, which keeps projects on schedule.
  2. Mobile TechnologyMobile technology is on the rise — mobile applications for real-time inspections to worker accountability to measuring on-site areas are trending. Popular mobile apps include AirMeasure and Infotycoon. Companies without mobile connectivity will be at a sales and productivity disadvantage from this year forward.Moreover, in 2020, a push toward improved safety is also leading this trend. Machine operators assisted by GPS monitoring can now be alerted when another worker is near their equipment. And, wearable GPS technology — boots, pants, and more — tracks workers on-site. A manager can then be immediately notified if there is a fall or other type of accident. There are even environmental sensors available that detect noise, heat, and wind to help evacuate workers and move costly construction equipment during seasons of harsh weather.
  3. 3D Model-Based Technology And Augmented RealityBuilding information technology (BIM) is helping industry leaders stand out with efficiency as well. BIM allows users to generate digital representations of buildings and utilities. Top BIM software solutions available include Tekla BIMsight and Autodesk BIM 360.These 3D model-based processes have brought new heights of ease to creating superior prefabrication of parts and project staging. Now, design optimization and identification of errors can be prioritized before building anything. Mixed reality allows for even more detailed planning and successful execution. Lastly, we also have 3D printing now that can decrease transportation risks.
  4. Modular And Prefabricated ConstructionModular and prefab construction has enjoyed major growth over the past few years. Modular-based projects save time, money, and energy — repetitive structures can be built at faster rates with fewer resources used. Modular construction is predicted to continue growing by 6.9 percent per year and reach $157 billion by 2023. Buildings are being brought to life through prefabricated pieces.Smaller and larger builders have developed innovative designs with this method. For example, the recent opening of the 21-story CitizenM Bowery Hotel in NYC hosts 300 modular guest rooms. In fact, modular projects have tripled to an average of 200,000 square feet.
  5. Better Project Management SoftwareProject management is ever-evolving and will continue to do so in 2020. All-in-one tracking systems that tackle end-to-end needs from RFIs to compiling data, sharing files with mobile teams, budgeting, document storage, payroll, and monitoring inventory. These ‘smart contracts’ offer a shared system for projects to be done, allowing seamless buying, tracking, and paying for services.Having great construction management software is going to be a vital component for remaining competitive, building a valuable business, and mastering operational efficiency. Top reviewed construction management software solutions include Procore and CoConstruct. Experts see this software as a powerful component in providing more secure and fast-moving workflows — giving all parties involved more confidence and productivity.
  6. Green Construction Green construction has emerging technology trends that both lower a building’s carbon footprint and reduces the use of resources. In 2020, sustainable efforts are predicted to increase significantly. Large to small scale construction projects looking to save resources will be aided by technological advancement. Major trends include transferring over to LED lighting and developing more effective thermal performance materials.Green construction has become the standard homebuyers, commercial tenants, and renters expect. Research has also proven that green buildings have a positive psychological and physiological impact on its occupants. Whether by demand from customers or pressure from regulations, it has been predicted that the renewable energy market will continue to grow.

The Future Is Bright

These new and emerging 2020 trends are enhancing the industry — bringing in innovation for new ideas and new roles. Rising prices, scarce skilled labor, and regulatory challenges may only become tougher over the next few years. By adopting new practices, leveraging new technologies, and investing in new projects, builders and developers can reduce risk, win more contracts, and enjoy profitability.

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The Newport Group is a leading executive recruiting firm with expertise in numerous industry verticals. We deploy proprietary data sets and meticulous processes to identify, recruit, place, and help retain blue-chip talent at leading companies nationwide. Turn the challenges ahead into competitive advantages alongside our help. Roles we’ve placed include CFO, VP of Construction, VP of Operations, Chief Estimator, to name a few.

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