As the economy improves, often the construction business does as well—but that industry is still looking for sound strategies, not just structures. After the housing dip of a few years ago, value is still on people’s minds as there isn’t a guarantee that another downturn couldn’t be around the corner.
Mike Miller, the Mid-Atlantic Division leader for Southland Industries, Dulles, VA, a mechanical engineering building firm, and Jim Snyder, director of operations for construction company Warrior Group, Columbus, OH, give us insights into the trends to look for this year.
1) Single-Design Model
Miller points out that traditionally, engineering documents were created then given to the contractor to re-draw with different information. Now, to save time and money, there’s a shift to have it all in-house from engineering to coordination, creating a one-stop shop. Through the proper coordination, models can and should, says Miller, go through engineering right into construction. “Thirty month projects can get turned into 24-month projects,” he adds.
Top trends in construction and building, from single-design models to permanent modular construction, have an impact on the future.
Top trends in construction and building, from single-design models to permanent modular construction, have an impact on the future.
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Miller, who has a degree in architectural engineering, says materials such as adapted sheet metal are popular as a guaranteed pressure class for high quality, but it’s how materials are being used that makes the difference. Going to prefabrication off-site for construction fits right into the ongoing theme of improving schedules. “Instead of joining one piece of duct work you can join 20 feet of duct together,” Miller says. “It’s about moving more work from the field into the shop.”
3) Energy Efficiency
Energy consumption is always on the mind in construction, says Miller. He notes systems that recover energy through heat wheels and occupancy sensors are becoming vital. An example of the latter are the countless interior conference rooms that can be left empty for weeks. By recognizing carbon dioxide in the room, a sensor changes the ventilation and, therefore, the energy needed.
4) Permanent Modular Construction
Snyder offers that permanent modular construction will be a huge trend in the coming years, saying the construction can easily last more than 50 years. “It looks exactly like commercial construction and can be done using many of the same things: metal studs, concrete, or even wood.” Snyder says modular construction fits particularly well when you’re in a time crunch, from fast food restaurants that need to go up quickly to army barracks for military deployment.
“It also allows you to have an easier time doing the building as you go,” he says. “Instead of building 100,000 square feet, you can do 25,000 and then later, add on.” Snyder, who has a degree in construction science, sees it also becoming a part of high-rise construction and being particularly popular for how it fits in with LEED requirements. The key, he says, is changing people’s minds about what they envision. “They see it as boxes,” he says, “but it can be so many things that you want it to be.”
According to Miller, well-rounded mechanical engineers who can go beyond calculations to fitting into these coordinated engineering design models will render themselves invaluable. The only question is: Are you flexible enough for the challenge?
Forecasts and growth
The construction industry has been growing at a steady pace since 2011. According to PRNewswire, the global construction industry is projected to grow from US$7.4 trillion in 2010 to US$10.3 trillion in 2020 (when measured at constant US prices).
On a similar note, Turner and Townsend mentioned that the GDP growth in the global construction industry is forecasted to grow by 3.6% in 2018. It is clear that the current state of the construction industry looks very bright and promising. One can assume that the main contributor of this growth, is due to the recovery of the economy and its true! But there is much more hidden in these figures.
2018 for construction
Various factors have set a new wave of productivity in motion in the construction industry and are soon to be seen in the year 2018. To start with, the advancement and application of technology in various industries has been increasing at a shocking speed. New discoveries are being adopted to modernize old work processes.
The global construction industry is forecasted to grow by 3.6% in 2018
With all this in mind, what can we expect to see in 2018? We will definitely see various trends that will focus on technology creating a direct or an indirect effect on the construction industry. Therefore, we decided to put together a detailed infographic that outlines the emerging trends to lookout for in the year 2018!
1. Building information modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modelling takes into account the most crucial thing in a construction project: Collaboration. After its initial launch, BIM tech has been evolving and has introduced many maturity levels that takes into account the level and extent of collaboration it offers.
So far, BIM has held a lot of interest from the construction industry. More and more, contractors are implementing BIM technology in their work processes. The BIM Level 2 mandate in UK has also started the ball rolling towards this direction.
Want to learn more? The future of Construction – BIM
There are various benefits to BIM tech in the construction industry from collaboration to cost and resource management. The latest version called the 5D BIM provides shorter project cycles, project scope understanding and increase in productivity.
The National BIM report of 2017 by NBS, shows astonishing insights into the world of construction. The report shows that the respondents’ perception of the benefits of BIM tech is very positive. According to the report, 78% of the respondents believe BIM is the future of project information, 70% of them believe that cost reduction in building/design/maintenance of lifecycle will be achieved and 60% believe that BIM will bring about time efficiencies in the project from the time it was conceived to completion.
So it’s clear that there is going to be less resistance with adapting BIM in construction projects. In fact with such favorable responses we might see more advancements with BIM in 2018.
2. Project management software
Like various other industries, construction has realized the potential of implementing a project management software. Real-time project management software has been continuously advancing in order to draw more insights from data.
The software provides the construction industry with three fundamental advantages: Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability. The latest software provides real-time communication, project overview, trackability and integrations with other software. There are different variations of construction management software it can be just home building software, construction app, scheduling software, and so on. GenieBelt combines everything in one platform.
A project management software is not as glamorous as BIM, and it’s not trying to be! What it is doing is improving and optimizing the basics of how construction projects get the job done. Its existence is due to lack of efficiency and waste in the construction industry.
According to Capterra, the budget percentage that most construction managers spend on IT is less than 2%.
Efficiency and waste due to lack of project management was observed by Project Management Institute as well. In their 2016 report, they outlined the costs of low performance. It was deeply linked with project management planning. The following are the current project management outcomes mentioned in the report.
This can be observed in every industry, especially the construction industry. There is still need for better data management.
As noted by Ulrik Branner, CEO of GenieBelt, ‘95% of all data is thrown out or not collected at all in construction.’
Though, the recent trend is changing. There is a lot of focus towards improving the way the industry operates. Which is why big data tech is being introduced in construction. In the year 2018, we will see a high usage of Project Management Software.
Typically in construction, clients are given project updates through photographs and on-site tours. The use of virtual reality allows managers to focus on more pending task. The era of virtual reality is only just beginning. In the year 2018, the appreciation and application of what we can achieve through VR will be seen.
On the other hand, the basic essence of augmented reality is enhancing what we see through data and information. This can provide accurate measurements, material details and reduce the risk of errors. Design clashes that are mostly absent in BIM can be identified and changed based on the client’s specification.
Construction is gradually becoming more data focused
In order to reap the most out of AR, there should be a complete flow of data. The technology demands a large data repository which is mostly absent in a typical construction project. As mentioned earlier, 95% of the data is either thrown away or not collected at all in construction.
But a change in trend is appearing. Construction is gradually becoming more data focused and when that happens the possibilities and benefits of AR would be immense. Therefore, we can definitely expect a much clearer and better use of augmented reality in construction. In short, we will see more VR and AR in the 2018.
Robotics and Automation have revolutionized various industries. Its arrival in construction has been slow but it’s here now and rapidly spreading. There has been much technological advancement made in robotics. One such example is MIT’s Digital Construction Platform which uses 3D printing to create form structures.
The benefits of such technology are huge. Although still in its infancy stage, robotics can replace humans and can get the job done faster, safer and cheaper. The 3D printing robotic arm just touches the tip of the iceberg. More will follow and mostly definitely a trend to see in the upcoming year.
There has been much talk about Drones and the numerous advantages they provide to a construction project. It is extensively used in mapping the construction site (thereby gathering data of the entire site), reporting the changes and updates of the project to clients, and monitoring and inspecting job sites.
Data collected from drone footage can also be used to analyse the progress of the project. In short, through drones construction managers are able to get the job done faster and with less money. According to Jdsupra, the worldwide market value of the drone industry will rise from $2 billion to $10 billion in 10 years.
On a similar note, Goldman Sachs estimates that businesses and government investment on drone tech will reach to $13 billion till 2020. In terms of drone production, commercial development of drones will increase from $2.6 billion today to $10.9 billion by 2025. In general the drone industry is forecasted to grow to $11.2 billion in 2021.
As one of the most glamorous technology in construction, the usage and investment of drone is sure to increase in the year 2018 and so are its benefits.
6. Modular construction
Modular buildings or prefabricated buildings is the development of a building structure off-site, and then transporting it to the desired site without compromising on quality. There is no change in building materials and supplies, and the job is done in less time. According to Westchester Modular, through modular construction the job can be done 65 times faster.
Of course modular construction does not answer all of our construction needs. There is always the option to renovate but modular construction is still considered a very effective and new method of construction. According to Modular.org, structurally modular buildings are more sound. They pass through intense quality assurance tests to make sure that the building is up to code.
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Nathan Kinkead would like to ask you about Marketing
What should I include in a product pitch with a VC?
Supply Chain Management for Makers
I have a really good idea for a product, but where do I start?
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Thanks for the question <a href='https://makersource.io/makers/natekinkead'>[Nathan Kinkead]</a> ! I would be happy to give you some marketing tips. What kind of marketing are you thinking of doing? Digital? Social Media? Advertisements? Print? There are lots of ways you could go! No matter what direction you decide to go though, the first step in marketing is understanding your consumer, who they are, where they are and what they want. After you have a firm grasp on who your customer is, you can figure out what medium, verbage and content will be most appealing to your customer. The key is to persuade them that you have what they want (hopefully, you actually do have it). Like i said before, from there you have many options on how to market your business. I hope this is helpful. I'd be happy to answer a follow up question. My specialization is in digital and social media marketing so, I am best suited for those types. Does anyone else have any tips on marketing?Nathan Kinkead would like to ask you about Marketing
That really depends on what the idea involves, you should do some research to find supporting tools, materials and services that relate to your product idea and just keep them in your bookmarks as you go through various stages of development. If this site takes off, it looks like it could become a pretty good resource for connecting with those providers. Also, getting an early design and prototype prepared is helpful for getting initial investment through sites like kickstarter.I have a really good idea for a product, but where do I start?
It’s incredibility important to start with the understanding investments are not usually made after just one meeting. Unless it’s a pitch competition, he goal of pitching a VC should be to generate interest and follow up questions. Here’s a suggested 11 slide format: - Vision and value proposition - The unique problem you are solving - The economic opportunity and targeted market - What your solution is and why it is unique or better - Your revenue model - Roadmap and what you’ve already accomplished - Your marketing and sales strategy - Who’s going to get you there - your team - Financials/Valuation - Competitive Analysis - How you are going to use the investment you are requestingWhat should I include in a product pitch with a VC?
Ok, that is good to know. So who would be the person to talk to at Avnet regarding supply chain? I'm already a customer of AVID which is an Avnet company. What other parts of the company can help me? Right now, I get the feeling with the buyout of Premier Farnell that the many arms of Avnet doesn't really know what the other arms are doing.Supply Chain Management for Makers