The construction industry has seen a number of trends rise to prominence so far in 2017, and equipment manufacturers would be wise to pay attention to them as they seek new and better ways to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers. While most manufacturers who provide products for the construction market are familiar with many of these trends, understanding just how impactful they are can help these companies better anticipate where the industry is headed and adjust accordingly to maximize their profits.
Here are five industry trends that are impacting construction today:
A recent survey from the Associated General Contractors of America underscored just how serious the skilled labor shortage is affecting the construction industry today. Approximately 80 percent of construction businesses are currently having difficulty finding qualified skilled labor. To make matters worse, there are more than 140,000 vacant construction jobs in the U.S. right now. While construction activity rebounded in the years following the Great Recession, many of the skilled workers who dropped out of the industry during tough economic times have not returned. Efforts to replace them have not gone well, either. Many young people today do not look at the skilled trades as a worthwhile career option, leaving the construction industry in the unenviable position of trying to do more work with fewer resources at its disposal.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is completely reshaping the way the construction industry thinks about designing and building structures. Construction professionals demand real-time access to information and insights related to their equipment, assets and employees, and want to be able to easily interpret the data in order to make actionable, informed decisions about their business. Whether its telematics, asset tracking, or something else altogether, IoT is helping companies minimize equipment downtime, improve safety, increase worker productivity and positively impact their bottom line.
The rise of the green building movement and the increased prevalence of sustainable construction practices have been bolstered by an increased demand for energy-efficiency features in new structures, ongoing concerns about climate change, and how new construction impacts the environment as a whole. Gone are the days where buildings and are designed and constructed solely based on economy, utility, durability and comfort. Structures are now being built using environmentally responsible processes and eco-friendly materials. And as long as legislation aligned with sustainable practices continues to be developed, enacted and enforced, the green building movement will continue to be a powerful and relevant one within the construction industry.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
Construction companies are increasingly investing in and employing UAVs (or drones, as they are more commonly referred to) to help them meeting a variety of business needs. Because they are equipped with cameras and gain access to remote locations with relative ease, UAVS are proving to be quite useful for a number of tasks: collecting information, helping complete safety inspections, gathering data about a project’s progress, and more. However, the construction industry has only scratched the surface when it comes to the potential for using UAVs for business applications, and it remains to be seen what new and useful ways they will be deployed in the near and distant future.
While modular construction is hardly a new concept, it has grown in popularity in recent years. According to the Modular Building Institute, modular construction holds approximately 3% of the market share, and it is expected to grow by about 5% by 2020. Not only can modular construction be a less expensive and more efficient way to build a structure, it can be done off-site as well. In an industry where time and resources are always at a premium, this trend is expected to be one to watch in the months and years to come.