Several analysts predict that 2016 will see a 6% growth in the U.S. construction industry, including a jump of 20% in residential building and 11% in commercial building. Advances in technology are leading the way. Some of the trends to watch:
- 3D BIM modeling is becoming the standard, providing owners with better visualizations. No longer limited to architectural models, BIM is being used to model structural engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Clash detection programs allow for early discovery of interference among systems and management of potential problems long before construction.
- Prefab/offsite construction methods will become more popular. These methods offer the benefits of reduced construction time, less waste, and possible cost savings, but the biggest payoff is when they are used in volume. It can also mean improvements in safety since some of the more technical work is performed in a more controlled environment away from the jobsite.
- Green building will continue to grow. While commercial construction has led the way in adoption of green technology, the residential sector is catching up, driven by consumer demand, lifecycle cost savings, and the aging in place movement. Currently, green building accounts for 26-33% of the total residential market.
- Robotic automation can handle repetitive manual tasks. Automated technology will be increasingly integrated into the construction industry, such as robotic bricklaying. Skilled workers who can oversee and operate robotic technology will increasingly be in demand.