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Industry Insight Trends & Technology

How COVID-19 Has Shifted the Construction Industry in 2020

Things have changed in 2020; we all know that. With industry shutdowns, social distancing, and new safety regulations, there’s no way they couldn’t change. The construction industry is unique in the effects the pandemic has had on our work. Since much of our work still has to be done on-site and by groups of people working closely with each other, the industry has had to pivot quickly. This has led to innovations in several areas, with the most prominent being technology, safety, and communication.

Construction technology

There have always been early adopters of construction technology, and many companies have been on the cutting edge for years. But these adopters have been widely dispersed and technology hasn’t gained much momentum in the industry, until now. In fact, up until now construction has been one of the slowest industries when it comes to adopting technology.

In 2020 the game changed. Suddenly everyone had to adopt technology, whether they wanted to or not. Some tech, like video conferencing, everyone had to quickly adapt to, so we were all in it together. There is some technology however, that the construction industry had to adapt on its own.

Drones have been in use on construction projects for a few years now. So they aren’t completely new to the industry. But suddenly project teams had to rely on them to get information from project sites. Drones are now being used by roofing contractors to do takeoffs and inspections, by site teams to perform project walk-throughs, and as a tool for surveying parts of projects that are difficult to get to. Expect drones to continue to grow in popularity into the future.

Virtual reality (VR) has allowed project teams to view projects and do inspections without having to be present physically. VR runs the gamut from photographs that are sent to inspectors and team leaders to a full video tour by a project team member with a phone or by drone. While the use of photos and video have been around for a while, they were never used for formal building inspections. Jurisdictions have been quick to adopt these technologies due to the fact that they needed to limit their on-site visits. The use of VR has the capability to speed inspections and shorten schedules.

The use of robots and other equipment to assist with the installation of building materials has also increased this year. Glass companies are using additional equipment to help them install large panes of glass with only one or two real person team members. This has improved the safety of installation and also sped up production. The use of robots and equipment to assist with installation continues to increase, and probably will as we continue to look for ways to work smarter.

Safety

2020 has been the year for new safety and health regulations, including regular health checks and added PPE. Local jurisdictions have been quickly issuing new guidance to contractors on how to keep their job sites running during the pandemic, while keeping workers as safe as possible. Contractors have had to pivot multiple times this year, reassessing their safety protocols and making sure that everyone is complying with the new requirements.

Companies now have to implement health monitoring protocols into their job sites. On large projects this can be difficult, as workers are entering and leaving areas through multiple entrances, and sites aren’t always monitored. In addition, companies have to track where workers are working at all times and who they are working closely with, in case they need to do contracting tracing. They also must keep detailed records and have them available when requested. Many companies have turned to technology to assist them with this, including the use of wearables, location monitoring, and automated health checks. Until the vaccine is widely distributed, these protocols will remain in place.

PPE needs have skyrocketed this year. Suddenly facemasks and gloves were in short supply. Now that supplies have leveled off, it’s easier for contractors to get a hold of the PPE they need. Many sites are requiring face protection, gloves, and masks be worn at all times to keep employees safe. These protocols are likely to continue into 2021 and beyond, as we try to maintain the health of all on-site workers.

Manpower use and crew size have decreased this year. Large job sites that had hundreds of workers were reduced to tens. Many companies had to look at alternative ways to get their work installed. Some used added equipment or robots, while others looked to prefabrication. Fabricating assemblies off-site reduces the number of employees in one space, allowing more workers to continue working safely. Prefabrication also reduces the amount of material used, prevents weather damage, and is better for the environment. This is a trend that will continue to gain momentum.

Communication

In a Forbes article, Johnny Clemmons, SAP Global Vice President Industry Business Unit Head of Engineering, Construction, and Operations, said that in the future, “Information must also be democratized, digitized, and universally placed into the hands of constructors to make a real impact on the industry.” While communication has often been a struggle in construction, many companies were forced to step into the future whether they were ready or not. The face of communication on job sites will be forever changed due to the pandemic.

Videoconferencing immediately jumped into the forefront of everyone’s day-to-day life. Zoom calls and Teams meetups are the norm today. These meetings have allowed people to remain in contact with each other, see each other, and maintain some sense of normalcy when face-to-face meetings haven’t been allowed. While many are suffering “Zoom fatigue,” these calls have allowed team members to attend meetings and view sites without having to travel, saving time and money. Conferencing this way may continue to be the norm going into the future, especially as security improves.

Cloud storage allows teams to access files, documents, and photos from anywhere with an internet connection. Since many project executives have been working remotely or at home, the ability to have access to these documents is paramount. This has allowed teams to easily keep up to date with project changes and ensure that team members have access to all the project files.

Collaboration and communication among team members has been more difficult when they can’t meet around the table and have open discussions. Many have turned to project management software to assist in collaboration. The ability to review drawings or documents, make changes, and have them updated immediately has improved project communication and helped ensure that work is done correctly.

The new normal

While drastic changes in technology, safety, and communication have occurred this year, the industry has quickly adapted and integrated these changes into his everyday processes. Teams are now better poised to deal with changes on-site with the use of these tools. While the use of on-site technology and current safety protocols may be reduced once the pandemic has passed, the need for communication and collaboration among team members will continue into the future. Companies that adopt tools such as construction project management software will have more success in the future, leading to better projects and improved client relationships.

 

Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.

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Industry Insight

COVID Changes in Construction

If there’s one thing 2020 taught the construction industry, it’s that flexibility is everything. Having the ability to make changes, adapt, and stay organized is important. It’s even been the cornerstone of the success for many companies through these challenging times.

But just how much has COVID changed construction? And how are the most adaptable companies keeping track of these changes? Read on to find out.

COVID’s biggest impacts on the construction industry

The Coronavirus Pandemic affected the construction industry in some profound ways. Many of these impacts are changing the way the industry operated for many years. It’s hard to tell if any of these changes will be permanent. However, construction companies and personnel need to adapt to them now.

Job site safety

It wasn’t that long ago that job site safety meant wearing a hardhat and fall protection. Now it means so much more.

Construction sites across the world are adapting to strict social distancing guidelines. Workers must stay six feet apart from each other. If they can’t stay clear from one another, they need to don PPE. Also, bathroom facilities need constant attention to remain sanitized and safe. 

One of the biggest changes has to do with personnel. Employers are telling employees to stay home if they aren’t well. Until now, sick days were scarce in this industry.

Extended timelines

The amount of time it’s taking for some projects to complete has more than doubled since the pandemic began. Regulations shut many job sites down for months at a time. This downtime cost builders and owners lots of time and money.

Many supply sources closed down as well. With job sites closed, suppliers from small shops to large chains had to make decisions. Many found it better to shut their doors and furlough employees. When suppliers re-opened, they found a backlog of orders to sort through.

All these factors have added up to increased timelines and scheduling conflicts. Owners, general contractors, and project managers need to adapt to keep projects from derailing completely.

Materials shortages

One of the rather unexpected changes to come about from COVID is the materials shortage. When authorities let sites reopen, many contractors found themselves struggling to source materials.

The lumber industry took a hard hit from COVID. During the shutdown, many lumber mills and logging operations had to shut their doors as well. Coupled with the fact that most homeowners were off from work during the best DIY-months of the year, lumber started flying off of the shelves.

Trucking was also affected by COVID. It drastically increased the amount of time it took to get materials to a job site or supplier.

When construction sites reopened, it was clear that there weren’t enough supplies to go around. The supplies that were available were as much as twice as expensive, potentially destroying the profit margins on most projects.

The effects

All these factors add up to some expensive and significant changes. Increasing safety measures, extending deadlines, changing suppliers, and shopping for alternative materials are all changes that no one was expecting before the pandemic.

So how do you survive it?

How to stay adaptable with the right technology

If there’s one way to survive all of the changes that COVID has thrown at us, it’s through adapting. The construction industry as a whole is reluctant to change. But, adapting to new policies, practices, and tools is important. They could be the difference between surviving and allowing tight margins to swallow your company or project up and spit you out.

 

The best way to implement these changes is to embrace technology. The right construction software will help you adapt and overcome these changes. You’ll be able to focus on the job at hand while streamlining your administrative work.

Forecasting

One way to stay nimble during the pandemic and any future changes the industry may experience is to use effective forecasting software. 

Many contractors think of forecasting as a long term strategy meant to identify trends, but forecasting is much more. While it is extremely effective at identifying trends, forecasting has an immediate benefit. It shows you how changes you’re dealing with now will effect your project as it moves forward.

One example of how effective forecasting software can help you navigate these changes might be purchasing PPE for a project. If you’re on a project that now requires increased PPE, your profit margin may be in serious trouble. Inputting the cost of your PPE into the right software can show you its impact across the length of a project. 

That same software can show you where you’ve come under budget, allowing you to shift some cash. By having a good grasp on your project with forecasting software, you can make adjustments in real time. You’ll be able to cover the increased cost of PPE instead of scrambling to find funding for the rest of the project.

You can run this same scenario with increased materials costs, timelines, or any number of other changes that you need to stay on top of. Forecasting is the best way to understand how these changes will affect your project.

To learn more about how you can forecast with Premier Construction Software, you can schedule a personalized product demonstration here.

Change Order Management

If you haven’t seen a major increase in change orders during the pandemic, it’s coming. Projects simply cannot go as scheduled right now. Materials are short, projects are over timelines, and budgets are less than stable.

Software that handles your change orders can save owners, general contractors, and project managers a lot of time in front of the screen. Automatic generation for budget shifts and external change orders means less human error. 

Project managers and general contractors can also send change orders to their customers electronically. They can then receive an approval with an electronic signature within minutes.

These same programs can also keep track of proposed change orders and budget transfers. Owners and project managers can use it as a road map that shows them where the project stands, how it got there, and where it’s headed.

Cost Plus Billing and Time and Material Billing

The materials shortage and increase in costs are changing how many contractors structure their contracts. Instead of shouldering the costs or submitting change orders for approval, many are opting for Cost Plus or Time and Material Billing structures.

 

While both of these structures protect the contractor’s bottom line, they can be a challenge to put together on a large project. The right software can do it for you, automatically generating reports and payment applications. You can even set markup percentages by trades and material markups automatically.

Providing detailed and transparent payment applications means your customer will have fewer questions. Good software keeps your accounts receivable organized and easy by removing the hassle of billing.

For more answers on how Premier Construction Software can help you with your Cost Plus billing or Time and Materials billing, click here.

Adapting to changes during COVID

Change is hard, and the construction industry resists it all costs. However, resisting these changes can cost you everything. Implementing new policies and tools, while staying nimble and alert to the status of your projects and profit margins might make all the difference.

We don’t know when the pandemic will pass or what its permanent effects will be on the construction industry. However, there are lessons worth learning; best practices change, and flexibility and fluidity are key. The industry’s adoption of streamlined tools and technology could be the most important COVID-related change to date.

 

Author Biography:

Tom Scalisi has over 15 years of experience working in the trades. Since moving to full-time freelance writing, he has developed a passion for helping construction companies grow. He enjoys teaching contractors how technology can streamline their businesses and educating them about their rights during payment disputes. 

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Industry Insight

The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Costs 

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted businesses in ways no one could have predicted and for a period of time longer than most anticipated. The good news is that the majority of U.S. businesses have been permitted to resume operations and are finding ways to adapt to the “new normal.” However, with that being said, the construction industry has suffered major financial impact as the cost of doing business has risen and the ability to complete projects on time has been impeded as a result of COVID-19. 

 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the major ways the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact construction costs.

 

New Standards for Workplace Safety

new safety measures implemented in the construction industry due to COVID-19

New health and safety regulations have required construction companies to develop plans for returning to work that outline how they plan to keep employees safe and operate in accordance with local laws and ordinances. Developing, documenting, distributing and implementing new safety protocols requires time and resources, all of which comes with a cost to construction companies.

 

New Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements also come at a high cost. Not only is it difficult to calculate how many masks and gloves are needed to complete a project, N95 masks are still difficult to come by, especially in large quantities. As a result, some construction sites have begun to rely more on air scrubbers, HEPA filters and other dust control measures to save the N95 masks for situations where close contact is unavoidable. Sanitizing stations and temperature check programs also come at a significant cost and require rental fees, material costs and man hours for setup and management.  

 

Another factor to consider is how social distancing rules impact the pace of construction schedules. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, job sites would typically be packed with subcontractors which is no longer considered safe. With fewer people allowed to work at any one time, projects are taking longer to complete, which invariably costs more.

 

Project Delays & Cancellations

A workforce survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (ACG) and Autodesk between August 4 and 26, 2020 reports that 60 percent of responding firms say they have had at least one future project postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus, and 33 percent report having projects that were already underway halted because of the pandemic. Additionally, the share of firms reporting canceled projects in August nearly doubled since the survey conducted in June, when 32 percent of respondents reported cancellations.

 

The survey also found the coronavirus has had a negative impact on firms’ confidence in the demand for future projects. Only 42 percent of firms report their volume of business has returned to the same level as last year, or is expected to do so in the next six months, compared to 52 percent who held this view in AGC’s June survey. Another 37 percent expect returning to normal levels of business will take more than six months, while the remainder don’t know.

 

Labor Shortages

The same ACG workforce survey found that while “the coronavirus has harmed the construction industry, prompting project delays and cancellations, layoffs and furloughs, it remains difficult for a majority of firms to find craft workers to hire.” Results from the survey found that 52 percent of firms are struggling to fill some or all hourly craft positions, especially openings for laborers, carpenters and equipment operators. 

 

Ken Simonson, ACG’s chief economist added, “Ironically, even as the pandemic undermines demand for construction services, it is reinforcing conditions that have historically made it hard for many firms to find qualified craft workers to hire.”

 

Global Supply Chain Disruption 

Global supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 affecting the construction industry

The COVID-19 crisis has had a global impact and caused disruption within every element of the supply chain. Suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, banks and the like all have been impacted in various ways, creating the need to develop mitigation plans for all aspects of business. 

 

According to Beroe Inc., a procurement intelligence firm, “the global construction industry will face disruptions for next 3-4 months from the pandemic as companies globally are being squeezed by the coronavirus outbreak, through labor market and supply chain disruptions.” Furthermore, “companies with worldwide supply chains may see tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers highly affected by disruptions related to the pandemic. The construction industry may experience constant supply issues surrounding construction equipment and materials from Asia.”

 

Final Thoughts 

Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to keep a constant pulse on your company financials and project costs—and we can help. Premier Construction Software’s all-in-one, cloud-based solution allows you to easily compare the original, current and estimate at project completion and account for anticipated costs. With over 20 customizable fields, and full drill down capability, project managers have access to all the job costs and accounting details they need to make more informed decisions.

 

And while the increased costs and other financial implications caused by the coronavirus pandemic are beyond any one person’s control, there are ways you can reduce other costs in order to mitigate the overall financial impact to your construction business and future projects—for example, by improving efficiencies across your team through automating complex processes to save you time and to reduce human error.

 

To learn more about how our software can help you save time and money, click here to schedule a personalized product tour. 

 

Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.

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Industry Insight Tips & Advice

Protecting Tight Margins in a COVID-Affected Construction Industry

COVID-19 has had a massive effect on the construction industry. From closing job sites to stretching materials thin, owners, general contractors, and project managers are seeing the consequences on their projects.

 

 

One of the most notable impacts of COVID was a drastic reduction in cash flow for almost all project participants. When the industry slows, everyone involved in a project tends to grab hold of what cash they have, holding onto it until we’re in the clear. Sometimes, it’s just the result of less available cash, as financing and projects begin to dry up.

 

Let’s take a look at the impact COVID has had on cash flow and what you may be able to do to shore up your bottom line.

COVID Cash Flow: Where’d it go?

The COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on construction projects across the globe. Owners, general contractors, Project Managers, and subcontractors have been scrambling to grab their share of the cash before it seemingly runs out altogether.

 

Jobs are becoming more expensive to complete. With the new rules on social distancing, personal protective equipment, increased regulations, rising material pricing, projects that used to be profitable now seem to be bleeding profits. Between purchasing masks, hand sanitizer, adding new safety regulations and paying for full-time cleaning crews, projects that were underway with profitable margins are now taking on water.  

 

Factor in that social distancing can double the amount of time it takes to complete a task, and it’s easy to see how timelines and schedules are suffering. While unloading a material delivery that used to take two hours with a full staff, it might now take four hours. You’ll have to budget time to unload the same amount of materials with half the manpower. After all, pinch points like entry doors and elevators could bring workers on your crew into close proximity to each other. 

 

Materials shortages are also stifling cash flow. If you’re lucky enough to find the materials you need, the prices are way up. Many plants and lumber yards had to shut down for some time during the height of the pandemic. As a result, materials are low, trucking costs are through the roof, and deliveries are becoming more difficult to schedule. 

 

All of these factors, and many more, are shrinking profit margins. They’re also leaving project managers, general contractors, and project owners wondering what they can do to survive. 

How project managers can handle tighter budgets

Most of the burden of these tighter margins falls on the project managers. They have to recognize the changes in these margins and adjust the project’s course to maintain some semblance of profitability. Holding project managers accountable to their variances and tracking the movement each month is vital to any construction company.

 

If you’re a project manager, all is not lost. There are some techniques you can focus on to ensure you maintain these tighter margins to the best of your ability.

Job forecasts and cash flow projections

To understand which direction the project might head in, you need to maintain detailed cash flow projections. This data is the baseline that helps you determine the health of your company or projects on a monthly basis. You’ll be able to recognize and budget for trends, allowing you to save for leaner times and make the most of your busiest season.

 

Effective cash flow projections need to account for income and operating expenses. They also need to track other incidentals like investments and equipment purchases. Thinking about taking out a loan? Your cash flow projection will take the payment and interest into account and show you how it will affect your monthly bottom line.

 

One thing cash flow projections do very well is point out trends. If you’re maintaining a proper forecast on a monthly basis, you’ll have years of data to look back at. You’ll see which months are the most profitable, which months are the leanest, and what might cause both of those scenarios.

 

For more information on how you can forecast with Premier Construction Software, you can schedule a personalized product demonstration here.

Estimate at Completion

With the right software, you can track your project’s progress with real-time updates on the Estimate at Completion. Your Estimate at Completion, or EAC, is an important tool for maintaining these tight COVID-related margins.

 

As the project moves along, and you’re updating your cash flow projections with actual costs, the EAC changes. For instance, say a one-time event occurs unexpectedly, like a change in materials, subcontracts or suppliers. You can input the change order and it will automatically impact the EAC. 

 

The effects of some other scenarios on the EAC can be a lot harder to track. An on-going change, like purchasing extra PPE for the duration of the project, can be a challenge. This is why it’s important to factor in pending commitments, pending change orders and anticipated costs in your EAC so you have a more accurate picture of where you will finish on the job and won’t be caught with any surprises. With the right software, the EAC should automatically calculate and should be easy to adjust. It should be easy to view the history, and raise budget transfers so you can more accurately determine the long-term effect on the margins and adjust on future jobs.

How owners can hold project managers accountable

For project managers to be effective, owners need to let them manage. But this doesn’t mean that owners shouldn’t hold them accountable throughout a project. Owners need to give PMs the room to make decisions but also maintain the ability to override the decisions when needed.

 

A smart way to allow your PM to operate is to use effective forecasting software. The PM can make adjustments, enter change orders, account properly for anticipated costs, or even transfer budgets through this software. With an all in one software that provides both accounting and job costing, it can auto calculate the EAC. This way you can trust the data providing the owners with a real-time update on the project’s progress and a more accurate picture of where they will finish on the job and account for all the variances. 

 

The owner can choose the information they want the PM to have access to and keep updated as the project progresses. The PM will then have all the data they need to make smart decisions to keep the project on track. They can compare line items on a project that are under budget and transfer those amounts to items that might come in above the targeted amount. This way, the PM can account for line items like sanitation costs or materials that have gone up in price.

 

To ensure that the PM is staying on budget and within these tighter margins, owners can track, approve, or deny these requests. Owners can also lock the previous months, giving them a baseline to judge the PM’s performance against.

Maintaining tight margins during COVID

Protecting what profitability you have left is the key to surviving the changes COVID has had on the construction industry. Some solutions are easy, like shifting budgets, creating change orders, or simply planning for the leaner months. But, you still need to track those items effectively to make smart decisions. You need whatever advantage you can get.

 

By equipping your project with the right software, you can shore up your bottom line against these profit-robbing changes. Be sure to keep an eye on your Estimate at Completion as well as your regular forecasting. These records will give you an up-to-date record of your project and where it’s heading.

 

What’s Next?

 

This new pandemic has influenced the construction industry to adopt technology and refine their business processes to help streamline operations. Traditionally the construction industry are ranked as late technology adopters as it is structured with in-person meetings, hard copy documents,manual signatures and more. In the wake of this pandemic, businesses are becoming more reliant on cloud technology, digitization, virtual meetings, real-time collaboration, and electronic sign-offs pushing the industry to a new world of collaboration and automation.

 

Cloud technology is now essential. Schedule a personalized product demonstration here and learn how Premier Construction Software can help empower your business. 

 

Author Biography:

Tom Scalisi has over 15 years of experience working in the trades. Since moving to full-time freelance writing, he has developed a passion for helping construction companies grow. He enjoys teaching contractors how technology can streamline their businesses and educating them about their rights during payment disputes. 

Categories
Industry Insight Trends & Technology

Top 10 Construction Trends in 2020

2020 has been a year of unprecedented change and challenges with the novel coronavirus causing global shutdowns and impacting all major industries. Fortunately, most U.S. businesses have now been permitted to reopen, albeit with new restrictions and requirements in place.

While the coronavirus has certainly caused some disruption and changes within the construction industry, there are still several industry trends that maintain constant and continue year-after-year. Staying attuned to industry trends will help you maintain a competitive edge by knowing what to expect and help you to prepare accordingly. 

Below we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most noteworthy and must-watch construction industry trends of 2020.

 

1. Supply Chain Disruption 

For builders that rely on Chinese-made goods and materials, 2020 has been an especially challenging year with Chinese government containment efforts and quarantines stalling—or, in some cases, completely stalling—production in factories across the country. While the economic giant has begun to recover, the long-term impact to the U.S. construction industry is still yet to be fully recognized.

Fortunately, because materials sourced from China typically arrive in the U.S. by slow-moving ship, most projects underway likely already had their materials ordered and in transit months ago. However, given that China is the world’s largest supplier of construction materials—with U.S. companies sourcing everything from steel to plumbing fixtures—any production or supply chain disruption felt on its end will undoubtedly impact the U.S. as well. While we can assume there will be some impact to future projects, the extent to which is still to be determined.

 

2. Labor Shortages 

Prior to COVID-19, the construction industry was already facing a labor shortage due to a boom in projects and high demand for workers with the necessary skills to complete them. Now, the industry faces new labor challenges. Many U.S. businesses adapted to the coronavirus closures by shifting to a work-from-home model. However, for many construction companies, this model isn’t feasible and healthy workers are required to be on-site. 

School closures and public transportation disruptions have also created a myriad of new challenges for construction industry workers that impact their ability to show up to work on time, if at all. In anticipation and preparation for increased absenteeism—whether due to illness or other factors—supervisors should begin to cross-train employees to handle multiple functions, and utilize technology to streamline operations such as construction management solutions.

 

3. Improved Safety Equipment

Aside from the new health and safety protocols implemented as a result of coronavirus, the construction industry is witnessing a rise of machines that are capable of increasing jobsite safety and reducing risk. For example, some work boots can now automatically connect to Wi-Fi and alert others if a worker has fallen. Another example is environmental sensors that can detect workplace conditions (like heat, wind, noise) and assess risk.

These machines are changing the jobs humans do by augmenting the decision-making process and creating room for higher-level jobs to use the data to decipher and translate findings into actionable insights.

 

4. Augmented Reality

Although virtual reality (VR) has been an emerging trend over the past few years, experts say it’s quickly growing outdated as augmented reality (AR) becomes the new “it” trend. VR is strictly a digital experience, whereas AR combines digital and physical views to create an immersive experience in real-time. 

Benefits of AR for builders and developers include 360-degree video to enable fast and affordable simulations, 3D visualizations of future projects and automated measuring of buildings, just to name a few. For clients, AR can provide more efficient project staging and make pre-construction projects tangible for buyers and tenants.

 

5. Drones 

drones in constructionDrone usage continues to be one of the fastest-growing trends in the construction industry as the technology advances and becomes more affordable, and the capabilities of drones continue to expand. Drones are commonly used to produce heat maps and thermal imaging, but the advancing software now makes it possible for them to provide real-time and actionable data that can be used for rapid decision-making and to streamline the entire construction process. 

Drones can also be used to improve workplace safety and reduce injury. For example, drones can be used to survey job sites to ensure workers are kept from potentially dangerous situations. They can also reach heights unsafe for the human worker.

 

6. Cloud & Mobile Technology

Not that long ago, most people didn’t understand what “the cloud” was—let alone a cloud-based operating system. Today, most mobile devices can access information anywhere, any time, and from any device. Cloud-computing has become integral to the construction industry for a number of reasons, including powerful data processing, connected job sites, easy sharing, and data storage, just to name a few.

Given its ease of access, Software as a Service (SaaS) has become a leading way to get the most benefit from cloud computing with minimal investment. There are SaaS offerings for almost every construction task, and Premier Construction Software offers the most powerful, all-in-one cloud-based software solution on the market to help you streamline accounting, job costing, project management, document management, approvals, electronic signatures and more. 

 

7. Modular & Prefabricated Construction

Another growing trend is a shift toward modularization and prefabricated construction because of the time, energy and cost savings. Modular construction is a prefabricated approach to building repetitive structures like hotels, apartments, and office buildings. 

Because modular units are built off-site, companies do not have to deal with construction barriers like inclement weather or limited working hours. Prefabrication can save companies a lot of money because they can get bulk discounts on materials—which, in turn, also saves time (and time equals money). These processes are also considered more eco-friendly because any leftover materials can easily be recycled. 

 

8. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Given the emergence of an open and highly collaborative data ecosystem, it should come as no surprise that BIM continues to be one of the hottest trends in the construction industry. BIM allows users to generate computer representations of buildings and utilities, and brings more accuracy to the building process by empowering the exchange of important project information between key stakeholders.

BIM’s further evolution—like 4D and 5D BIM—will be the catalyst for fundamental change within the industry. Improved technology is anticipated to make construction projects more productive, affordable, eco-friendly and safe.

 

9. Green Technology & Sustainability

Every year, green construction grows in popularity as more companies look for ways to incorporate sustainability into the construction process. Green construction entails building projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient manner to reduce carbon footprint. Sustainability construction includes the preservation of the environment, with a focus on social responsibility.  

A few green trends gaining traction in the construction industry include bricks made of recycled cigarette butts, self-healing concrete and thermally driven air conditioners. 

 

10. Construction Management Software

Construction software plays an important role within the construction industry, but many companies are using multiple disjointed systems that don’t speak to each other in real-time. This creates disconnect between accounting and project management which, in turn, causes bottlenecks, errors, and inaccurate reports. 

Premier Construction Software empowers businesses to work smarter by providing modern, powerful and easy-to-use construction software. Our all-in-one software solution features accounting, job costing, in addition to project and document management to ensure the data syncs real-time, making it easy for businesses to trust the data to make more informed decisions.

To learn more about Premier Construction Software and to speak to a representative, click here.

 

Final thoughts

As the construction industry continues to evolve, it’s imperative to stay informed about trends that are shifting the business and global landscape. Adapting to these changes and leveraging technologies to maximize efficiency and reduce risk will help business owners stay competitive, offset additional costs and increase profitability.

 

Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.