In recent years, construction has evolved into an environmentally conscious process. More than ever, architects and builders are seeking ways to protect the air, water, and earth with the materials they source and the methods they use to construct new projects and remodel older dwellings. And while some of the recent trends add challenges to construction, new technology is also making builds a more efficient and affordable process. Listed below are some of the most notable changes in construction for 2019 and how they’re impacting the industry.
Green Design: Construction emissions have a major impact on overall global carbon emissions, Construction Climate Challenge citing that construction is responsible for more than 30% of worldwide emissions. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified construction projects are the new standard, and they involve building methods that conserve energy, water, and lower emissions. Some LEED methods include installing cool roofs, energy-efficient windows, better insulation, environment-friendly paints, using solar power and geothermal energy, and implementing specialty waste removal throughout the build. Becoming LEED certified is key to future construction in both residential and commercial projects.
Building with Eco-friendly Materials: Responsible building can be achieved in big and little ways, from how far materials have to travel to your work site to factoring their longevity in the environment the build is taking place in. Materials that are known for their sustainability and green benefits include Bamboo, which quickly regenerates itself, reclaimed wood and recycled metal, and precast concrete slabs that contain a filler element like foam. Construction with locally sourced, responsible materials can be a major selling point for the project.
Shortage of Labor: Due to the ever-increasing population demands and a stronger economy, there has been no shortage of construction work in 2019, especially in larger cities. More work, however, is leading to a shortage of workers. While low-unemployment rates have a positive impact on America, it presents a problem for construction businesses. Builders are finding they must spend more time hiring and training new employees than they have in the past.
Rising Materials Cost: In 2018, material costs rose by more than 10% according to GlobeSt, but the trend has begun to ease in the past few months, especially with iron and heavy melt scrap. The cause for increased material costs varies from limited resources due to natural disasters, high-demand, and increased trade tariffs. Lumber, which also hit an all-time high in 2018, has begun to level out as the supply and demand begin to better balance one another. This is great news for the construction industry.
Smaller homes: Due to the desire to reduce our global footprint, homeowners are opting for smaller homes, and reduced square footage is a trend that is projected to continue. Increased housing prices make it harder for couples to buy into the American dream, so many new buyers are opting to start small.
Green Spaces: Increased green spaces around homes and businesses are proving to lower stress levels and help the environment by reducing water runoff and provide habitats for animals. This is a trend we see increasing over the next year and beyond. Low-maintenance gardening and landscaping is another way builders are contributing to local sustainability. As we move towards a greener future, construction design is more creatively bringing green spaces indoors, and opening the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Technology: Technology is playing a significant role in the future of construction, and in a good way. Software is making scheduling, project management, and reporting a more efficient and accurate process, lowering costs by saving time and labor. Commercial drones are on the rise because they provide real-time data to builders, and potential problems can be spotted right away which saves time and resources in preventable setbacks due to construction error. Safety technology is keeping workers safer on the job, and autonomous equipment is helping with the industry labor shortage. The advances in construction technology are on the rise, and it only means positive changes for the industry.
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