The construction industry is going to flourish in 2015.
According to Dodge Data and Analytics, the U.S. construction industry will rise 9% to $612 billion over the next year, trouncing 2014’s 5% gain to $564 billion. But this growth won’t be evenly dispersed, and the face of these construction companies is rapidly changing, both with how they do their work, and who (or what) is doing it. This coming year will bring big changes to the construction industry, and the trends outlined below will mark the start to a new era in construction.
Without further ado, here are the top six construction trends that will continue or emerge in 2015.
1. Construction companies will continue ditching paper.
Paper is so 2010. Many companies are already switching over to construction management software with document management capabilities—saving some companies up to $5,000 a year. With more construction managers choosing to write, process, and submit their RFDs, project updates, applications, LEED forms, invoices, and contracts online, even smaller remodeling companies will start making the switch.
2. Mobile apps with geo-fencing will boom in popularity.
A geo-fence is a virtual barrier. It uses GPS to track where an object (like a cell phone) is. With so many contractors relying on time-tracking software to figure out what to pay whom, geo-fencing applications are particularly helpful—with applications like Timesheet Mobile, setting geo-fencing parameters can help construction managers better manage their payroll as the system will log when an employee is on- or off-site, without manually having to add hours. There are lots of construction-specific mobile apps that provide this service, like Red-Trac and Labor Sync, but expect this trend to grow ever more popular over the coming year.
3. 3D printing will make its way onto more construction sites.
3D printing: it’s flashy, it’s newsy, and it’s the future of the construction industry. With more commercial firms focusing in on green construction, cost-conscious managers will continue turning to this tool. In fact, according to Gartner, worldwide shipments of 3D printers will increase 101% (from 108,151 to 217,350 units) over 2015 alone. That said, construction is notoriously a conservative industry when it comes to technical innovation. Constructech warns, “3D printing probably will not infiltrate the core of the industry until it has been tested and proven in other industries.” With that said, the construction industry will likely mass-adopt 3D printers before the end of this decade.
4. More commercial contracts will be green.
Green building is trendy and cost-effective. In fact, according to McGraw Hill Construction, up to 48% of new nonresidential construction projects will be green. That’s a $145 billion opportunity for construction firms. Additionally, the call to continue greening existing buildings will only continue to rise. And while there’s skepticism that LEED will keep dominating the green space, many firms will turn to green construction management software to help please their eco-conscious customers.
5. Micro-apartment contracts will boom.
Want to live in a closet? Many Millennials and Generation Xers actually do, contributing to the rise of micro apartments. From Boston to the District to Nashville to San Francisco, these tiny dwellings are finally gaining approval from city planners—which means more contracts for commercial builders. Construction companies should ready their bids across the country as this trend hits the mainstream.
6. The sharing economy will grow for the latest-model heavy equipment.
According to a new whitepaper called “Tech Innovations Drive Increases in Heavy Equipment Leases and Rentals,” heavy construction equipment will increasingly be shared between construction companies. Expect more construction companies to share their forklifts, wheel loaders, and compact truck loaders over the next year. And as more construction companies follow the the EPA’s initiative to do away with old Tier IV machinery, newer equipment, like compliant heavy forklifts and excavators, will start joining in on the rental construction economy as well.
These surely aren’t the only construction trends that will hit in 2015. What did I miss? Leave your comments and suggestions below!