Construction Trends to Watch in 2021
The construction industry continues to rebound from the disruption caused in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these issues, the US construction industry contributed more than $1.36 trillion to the US economy in 2020 and accounted for more than seven million commercial jobs last year. One of the reasons to be optimistic about the construction industry in 2021 is the number of fascinating and efficient new technologies and equipment entering the market. Below are just a few of these trends and developments:
What’s new in the construction industry for 2021
1. Robot Laborers.
While robots aren’t going to replace humans in the construction industry anytime soon, these high-tech automatons can be extremely useful in certain situations like working in high-risk or toxic areas or when there is a shortage of labor available. Robots, such as the Japanese HRP-5P are capable of doing tasks like independently hanging drywall.
2. Smart Boots.
Smart boots are work boots with a sensor embedded in them that can do things like monitor worker health, help find employees in the event of an emergency or accident, and even communicate directly with heavy equipment to help prevent accidents.
LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is transforming the construction industry. This technology can scan a worksite with a sensor mounted on construction equipment and produce 3D images in real-time. This not only reduces the time necessary to produce site drawings but can be done from a distance, reducing the hazards of working on an undeveloped work site.
4. Building Information Modeling.
Building Information Modeling, otherwise known as BIM, uses internet of things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to generate “smart” workflow and management tools. This software can create a 3D model of a finished construction project and allows all participants, from the architect to subcontractors to submit input, allowing all of those involved to be able to see exactly where the project stands and what it looks like at any given moment.
5. Eco-friendly housing tech.
Environmentally-friendly technology continues to be a big topic in housing construction. New developments include new systems for rainwater collection and eco-friendly plumbing that can reduce water waste by as much as 15 percent as well as living building materials like self-mending concrete, which is saturated with bacteria that binds the surrounding materials to create a new material.
The construction industry continues to evolve and embrace new technologies. Savvy contractors will keep an eye on developments in the eco-friendly sphere, IoT devices, and how AI can help solve traditional issues in construction like avoiding hazardous areas and dealing with labor shortages. 2021 promises to be an exciting year for the industry.