The last two years have wreaked havoc on the construction industry, but good things come from hard times. We’ve been watching the news these last couple of years and the outlook is bright! Here are some of the trends we see for 2022…
Improved PPE and Safety Equipment
More women are coming into the construction workforce (a good thing!) and new PPE allowing for smaller and curvier body shapes is coming to accommodate these new workers. Technology in vests and hard hats that measure the user’s biometric conditions and environment is another PPE trend that goes beyond passive. They can monitor a worker’s vital signs, movements, repetitive motions, and slips or falls. These can let safety managers know if a worker is exhausted or at risk for injury.
Office to Field Communications Technology
Mobile applications in the construction industry allow worksite access like never before, including real-time inspections, on-site accountability and accurate measurements taken from a mobile phone camera. COVID-19 caused issues with accessibility to materials, spaces, or even other teammates. Technology is closing this gap with comprehensive construction management software.
Use of Drones
Drone use in the construction industry continues to be one of the fastest growing trends, with usage rising by 239% year over year. The technology offers far more uses than just aerial photography for real estate and commercial efforts. Today’s drones are used for rapidly mapping large areas over long distances, producing valuable aerial heat maps and thermal images. The advancing drone software provides real-time, actionable data that can be used for rapid decision-making, further streamlining the entire construction process.
Labor Shortages Continue
COVID-19, an aging workforce, and an aversion to trade schools, has caused continued stress on the labor force in construction. The industry is targeting Generation Z (1995-2010) in recruiting efforts and we are seeing more public service announcements touting trade schools as an avenue out of high school, rather than college. An increased focus on high school programs in the construction sciences is also helping. The shortage of workers will continue through 2022.
Sustainability and Green Construction
These are terms we’ve been hearing for a while, but the trend promises to come into its own this year. The City of Houston just approved its first Green Construction high rise project. More green spaces are planned as part of new construction than ever before. Greenscaping is a term that we’ll hear for a while. It’s the practice of outfitting rooftops and other parts of the building with plant coverings. This will improve resistance to high-powered storms.
Modular, Prefab, and 3D Production
This trend is only continuing from the past few years. Modular has been around for a while, but technology is taking it farther than ever before. Modular and Prefab can be construction offsite and simply erected. They are being built larger than ever before. The quality is more consistent when built in an offsite space. Then there is 3D printing using concrete and other materials to create onsite with a digital driving the build. All three of these building methods offer cost savings to the end user; a way to combat rising materials costs and labor shortages.
Overall, the construction industry is optimistic about what 2022 will bring. Sites are opening back up, we’ve gotten used to working in the confines of COVID-19, and technology will continue to spur the industry on during the year.
ERC continues to successfully navigate construction in the Houston and DFW areas. Contact us for a quote on your project today!