Construction Industry Trends 2020

15 Construction Industry Trends to Look for in 2020

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Keeping up with construction industry trends offers benefits beyond being informed about the latest developments and technology. 2020's construction trends forecast practical tools and methods that could boost your crew's productivity and give your business a competitive edge. 

Take a look at some of the projected 2020 trends in the construction industry for the latest in technology, environmental, operational, and strategy developments. 

Technology Trends

Technology is always evolving, and the construction industry is no different. Emerging tech aims to streamline construction and assist in all facets of operation. Take a look at some of the new construction industry technology that could revolutionize your business in 2020.

1. Drones

The introduction of robotics in the construction industry has paved the way for easier project monitoring. Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), can be controlled with remote controls, tablets, phones, or computers. These machines are especially helpful on construction sites for:

  • Simpler land surveying.
  • Instant video data retrieval.
  • Aerial site safety assessment.
  • Aerial video and photography.
  • Real-time site monitoring.

2. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) uses a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment to immerse users into a different world. Architects and real estate developers use VR equipment to show clients a realistic rendition of the end-product for a home or building project.

The construction industry has begun to use VR to prevent construction errors. VR allows workers to see schematics and plans in a realistic 3D composition. They can then spot mistakes in a model before the errors make it to the construction phase, saving time and money. 

3. Construction Management Software

New construction management software provides construction businesses with the tools, processes, and information they need to increase productivity and efficiency. The software gives businesses a central hub for:

  • Payroll.
  • Job costing.
  • Billing.
  • Scheduling.
  • Estimates.
  • Reporting.
  • Inventory management.

Many construction companies are adopting software programs to centralize tasks. Using software offers convenience and greater organization, which allows for in-depth tracking and growth management. 

4. Building Information Modeling

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been on the rise for a few years, and it continues to press forward as a growing construction trend. BIM uses software to create an intelligent "blueprint" for construction projects. The 3D models show parts of a building or infrastructure in addition to their associated data.

The technology gives detailed insight into construction data before a project begins. For example, BIM could help a project manager identify an area where plumbing and electrical fittings clash and amend the construction plans. BIM offers limitless capabilities to increase construction efficiency and foresight, which is why it's expected to expand during 2020.

Eco-Friendly & Sustainability Trends

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Another area of new construction industry trends is a shift toward sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Efforts to reduce emissions, recycle materials, and choose earth-friendly products not only protect the environment. They can also save your business money. Here are some of the growing trends in this area.

5. Locally-Sourced Materials

Local material sourcing enables construction businesses to purchase project supplies in or near a project's location. Construction businesses might switch to local material sourcing for a few reasons:

  • Less material transportation means less energy use.
  • Less energy use reduces a business's carbon footprint.
  • Local materials support the economies in project locations.

6. Demolition Material Recycling

Another trend in the industry involves more mindful demolition practices. Instead of sending leftover materials like concrete and steel to a landfill, businesses can have them recycled into aggregate for future projects. Carpeting, flooring, and ceiling materials can also be reused.

Recycling demolition materials presents both business and environmental benefits. Construction businesses can save money while keeping materials out of the landfill.

7. Non-Toxic Materials

Many construction businesses are choosing non-toxic paints, solvents, insulation, and building materials over conventional products. The switch mitigates some of the dangers of using conventional materials, including:

  • Respiratory complications.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Migraines.

Insulation alternatives such as wool, recycled cotton, and wood fibers don't contain the toxic petrochemicals and adhesives found in traditional insulation, making them a more environmentally-friendly option. 

8. Green Spaces in Design

Urban green space is in increasing demand among today's construction projects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines green spaces as land that is partially or fully covered by grass, trees, shrubs, or vegetation. 

Common areas construction may implement this trend in 2020 include:

  • Rooftop green spaces.
  • Parks.
  • Interior greenhouses.

Green areas not only provide visual appeal, but they also improve air quality in their location. 

Operation Trends

Several of the construction industry trends for 2020 revolve around improving overall construction operations. Whether it's safety, efficiency, or productivity, these trends bring important benefits to the table. 

9. Increased Safety Measures 

About 21% of workplace fatalities happen in the construction field. One way the construction industry is working to reduce the number of fatalities is through wearable technology. Wearable tech items can:

  • Track worker locations.
  • Provide worksite information.
  • Monitor worker vitals.
  • Reduce risk of injury.

Wearables currently come in the form of tags inserted into hard hats or vests, devices clipped onto tool belts, and intelligent work boots. Whatever the type, it's clear safety will continue to be paramount in 2020.

10. Design-Build Methods

Another industry trend indicates a shift from traditional construction project delivery to design-build models. The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) defines this model as one in which a construction contractor collaborates with a designer as a team with a single contract source.

Today, DBIA states nearly half of all construction projects have adopted a design-build method. Some of its benefits include:

  • Lower unit costs.
  • Faster construction.
  • Less cost growth.
  • Less schedule growth.

11. Modular & Pre-Fabricated Construction

The modular and pre-fabricated construction movement involves assembling structural components at a manufacturing site before bringing them to a worksite. The method has become an affordable way to cut down on construction time while using quality, sustainable materials.

Modular and pre-fabricated materials provide:

  • Less worksite disruption.
  • Less exposure to substance and weather health risks.
  • Consistent quality.
  • Flexible assembly and disassembly.
  • Easier material recycling.

12. Autonomous Heavy Equipment

Manufacturers continue to bring driverless options to the construction industry with autonomous heavy equipment. Some of the equipment utilizes remote control systems that move operators out of cabs, and other equipment operates fully autonomously. 

A primary example of this trend is the Cat® automated mining equipment. Advances like these help improve efficiency, keep operators safe, and usher transformation within the industry.

Business Strategy Trends

The final category for new construction trends includes business practices that are making waves. These business trends offer efficiency across the board.

13. Renting Equipment

Equipment expenditures can make up a large portion of a construction business's budget. Renting construction equipment rather than purchasing it has become popular for several reasons: 

  • Decreased upfront costs.
  • Fewer maintenance and repair costs.
  • No depreciation costs.
  • Flexibility for project-specific equipment. 

Though it may not be best for everyone, the rental trend allows some businesses to operate with greater financial stability. 

14. Paperless Operations

Paperwork abounds in the construction industry. In addition to the hassles of filing and storing paperwork, purchasing paper has an impact on your budget and the environment. The paperless trend quells concerns by providing software equipped for documentation and easy access. 

The trend goes hand-in-hand with the construction management software trend. In fact, many construction management software programs have documentation and storage capabilities to help your business go paperless. 

15. Work-Integrated Phones 

Like most industries, workers in the construction industry use mobile phones to communicate. The work-integrated phone trend builds upon this capability with streamlined apps and mobile programs that allow for communication and management all in one location.

As this software develops, expect to see more construction businesses switching to convenient, collaborative programs that are accessible from any phone at any worksite.

Cat & Thompson Tractor Keep up With Industry Trends 

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At Thompson Tractor, we're proud to be an industry leader with cutting edge technology and excellent customer relationships. When you partner with us, you can benefit from the Cat 360° Advantage – which includes machinery, products, services, and rebates.

Check out our Cat 360° Advantage today to see how you can benefit from industry trends with Thompson Tractor.