Throughout the course of 2021, the construction industry saw some significant challenges, as well as new opportunities. As much as we were all hoping the pandemic would subside and America would return to a sense of normalcy, we managed to charge through 2021 even with its challenges. Staff shortages, inflated material costs, and COVID-19 regulations were just a few of the top pain points for the industry; however, not everything was an uphill battle. Technological advancements, like the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increased automation, and a shift to modular construction, has begun to pave a new road for the industry. Here are the twists, turns, and ups and downs you can expect in 2022.
One of the largest trends we will see in 2022 is the continued growth of design-build popularity. This is when a single contract is in place for both the construction and design of the build. Many clients opt for this for a few reasons. First, it encourages a fluid approach of the project, from beginning to end. Second, there is a single source of responsibility. This means there’s reduction in communication issues, and a boost in steady workflow. Finally, as a result, projects can be completed faster, benefiting not only the construction business, but most importantly, the clients they serve. Learn more about the Galbraith difference and how we provide the design-build difference.
The development and implementation of new technologies are making a significant impact on the construction industry. The limit of these new advancements is rather nonexistent. From 3D printing opportunities to provide scaled displays of projects and materials, to using drones to facilitate site surveys, the industry is seeing great opportunities to increase efficiency and business abilities. Additionally, the increase in smart-home technologies has caused a substantial change in the construction of homes themselves. Being cognizant of the digital transformations within households is a massive change that one cannot expect to slow down anytime soon.
Sustainable Construction Methods
Another emerging trend within the construction sector we have seen over the course of 2021, and is projected to continue in the construction industry, is sustainable construction methods. Although many clients may believe this is simply renewable energy options like solar, there are options that go beyond traditional solar panels. We’ve seen an increase in green roofs within commercial designs, allowing for excess water to be absorbed within the soil, effectively watering the plant life growing from the building roof. Beyond a unique aesthetic, air quality is also increased. Furthermore, many builders are opting for green building materials like clay or recycled glass and steel.
Additionally, in the Midwest, we experience a variety of weather conditions throughout the year, with temperature swings of 100 degrees or more. In order to maintain consistent production, the construction industry has also seen an uptick in modular construction. Modular construction is the construction of an entire building, or some of its pieces, in a controlled environment. This is done off-site and outside of the elements, allowing for continued construction that otherwise may be difficult due to extreme weather conditions. After the off-site construction is complete, the build is moved to its location.
Improved Safety Measures
As we progress through 2022, we can expect to see an increase in safety measures. In 2021 the biggest emphasis with construction safety seemed to gravitate toward COVID-19; however, as we move into 2022, we’ll see them expand beyond disease control.
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, posted in December 2021, construction related fatalities accounted for almost half of all occupational deaths in 2020. We, as an industry, must do better. This includes an increase in employee safety training, health screenings, completion of accident reports, and safety inspections. In addition, safety trends are also going to be shifting to follow-ups. Meaning, completing the safety checks and accident reports are important, but it should lead to a follow up action based on the results.
For instance, if there is a significant percentage of safety checks failing in a certain area, there should be additional training for the crew that is responsible for those specific duties. Similarly, if there are accident trends showing accident and injury types, training should take place to educate employees to reduce the risk of these accidents to prevent injury in the first place. Follow up will be a major safety trend in the construction space in 2022.
The final construction trend we’ll see in 2022 is the use of automation. Truth be told, automation has been a part of the construction industry for years. Whether it was the implementation of vehicles to transport, or the use of cranes to move materials, automation has been evolving for some time now. With the growth in technological advancements, the use of automation will continue to expand. Although this will increase productivity, one of the looming fears is how this will impact the workforce.
With surveys being released stating millions of workers will be displaced within the next 35 years, due to the rise in automation, many are left feeling uncertain. There is no doubt automation can increase efficiency and reduce project times; however, the need for physical workers will always be present, especially at Galbraith Construction.
If you are interested in a consultation for an upcoming project, please give us a call at 717-776-6337. We would love to help.
What is Modular Construction?
Modular construction is the construction of an entire building, or some of its pieces, in a controlled environment. This is done off-site and outside of the elements, allowing for continued construction that otherwise may be difficult due to extreme weather conditions. After the off-site construction is complete, the build is moved to its location.
What is Design-Build?
This is when a single contract is in place for both the construction and design of the build. Many clients opt for this for a few reasons. First, it encourages a fluid approach of the project, from beginning to end. Second, there is a single source of responsibility. This means there’s reduction in communication issues, and a boost in steady workflow.
Why Should Safety Measures be Improved in 2022?
According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, posted in December 2021, construction related fatalities accounted for almost half of all occupational deaths in 2020
As co-owner of Galbraith/Pre-Design, Inc., Mark Galbraith is responsible for the construction of commercial facilities in nine states. Continuing his family’s tradition of commercial and industrial construction in south central Pennsylvania and beyond, Mark’s experience includes site analysis and selection, pre-construction services, field engineering and project management.