It’s no secret that the construction industry has gone through monumental changes over the years. Some widely used construction materials have withstood the test of time and continued to come out on top. Others rose to fame and quickly faded into oblivion for various reasons. Building techniques and even contractors’ approaches to their profession have evolved in many ways. In the face of unprecedented demands for new builds, the sector experienced unexpected shortages in qualified construction workers. Challenges arose and were overcome only to be replaced by new hurdles.
Looking at Rising Trends for the Years to Come
Some might say that last year was technically no different than any other for members of the construction industry. Those on the inside would most likely beg to differ. The now-infamous pandemic nearly brought the residential and commercial real estate sectors to a standstill, and social distancing and shelter-in-place orders kept many would-be advancements from taking place.
Though essential workers in the construction field didn’t have to stop production altogether, hardships in other industries certainly put a damper on new projects. That being said, general contracting services are now climbing back to their former glory. By some accounts, they may even surpass previous industry-wide projections. On top of that, certain key trends are poised to transform the construction industry like never before.
Drones have made their appearances in many industries lately. They’re flying onto the scene to observe the damage from natural disasters, scope out potential mining sites, and pinpoint possible dangers in areas that aren’t easily accessible. They also explore caves to make sure they’re safe for human entry and even find evidence of paranormal phenomena.
They’re becoming more common on construction sites as well. Drones give project managers the power to monitor job sites remotely, so they can keep track of progress and get a bird’s-eye view of safety hazards before accidents happen. Those are only a couple of the potential uses for drones. They actually allow project managers and other personnel to essentially be in two places at once, if not three or four.
Management Software Integration
Software has been a rising development since computers first hit the market. It has improved by leaps and bounds over the years. Today, numerous software platforms are available to members of the construction industry. They can foster numerous elements of companies’ operations from construction management and payroll to billing and supply chain control. In some cases, software packages now combine all those aspects and many others while also offering far-reaching analytics and reporting to help eliminate unnecessary spending, manage material costs, and mitigate waste.
The Internet of Things
Drones offer a certain amount of remote monitoring capability via live video feeds, but IoT is taking matters to an entirely new level. This technology is being incorporated into virtually all industries. Its applications for the construction sector are constantly growing. IoT is currently being used for asset tracking to mitigate theft, idle time, and other issues. It’s also being used in tandem with drones and other tools to assess worksite safety and productivity. In truth, it can even be used to operate certain types of equipment from afar. Its possible uses are going to become even more advanced moving forward.
BIM and VDC Design Innovations
Not very long ago, CAD technology was the next big thing in the construction industry as well as other sectors. Today, BIM and VDC are taking over. Building Information Modeling is providing 3-D imagery for construction projects, generating real-world views of what finished projects and different phases of the construction process will look like before construction even begins.
Virtual Design and Construction is helping architects, engineers, project managers, and other team members find design flaws and potential issues before they have a chance to become major problems. All this is allowing for necessary design and structural changes to be made quickly and effectively to better streamline the construction process. It’s also helping to minimize unnecessary spending while shortening project time frames among other advantages.
Modular buildings aren’t new to the world of construction. In fact, they’ve been around for quite some time. In the beginning, though, their applications were somewhat limited, and their range of designs and layouts were even more restrictive.
That’s no longer the case. Advancements in this field have paved the way for increasingly expansive and elaborate modular buildings. Modular buildings’ growing prevalence in commercial construction is providing new ways to save money on materials and labor without sacrificing safety, durability, and flexibility.
Biological Building Materials
Biological building materials may sound like something straight out of the science fiction realm, but they’ve become a reality. Environmentally friendly options like hempcrete and green roofing are certainly becoming more commonplace, but those are only the tip of the iceberg. Air cleaning bricks that actually help remove airborne contaminants are also entering the mix.
At the same time, self-healing concrete is rising through the ranks. This material contains tiny capsules that house microorganisms. Those organisms exist in stasis inside the concrete unless it becomes cracked. Then, the air and moisture that the cracks allow inside reanimate the microorganisms. From there, they secrete a substance that actually mends the damage.
Mycelium composites are also making their way into the field of construction. Made of fungi, these materials are being used to create insulation and flooring. They’re easily renewable and provide a potentially endless source of construction materials. Those are only a few of the biological, environmentally friendly materials construction companies in Raleigh NC and beyond will be working with during the years to come.
Blending Old-World Service with New Age Innovations
At J.M. Thompson Company, we’re committed to making the most of the latest innovations in the construction industry without losing sight of the quality and services upon which we’ve built our reputation. We provide a full range of commercial construction services from pre-construction solutions and project management to general contracting and design-build services. Our team brings extensive training and experience to the table, and we’re dedicated to our clients’ satisfaction through every phase of the construction process.