How Innovation Is Shaping Up The Construction Industry’s Future?

  • June 7, 2023
  • 9 min read
  • By Soham Roy

Introduction

Imagine a world where engineering and construction (E&C) firms can create impressive skyscrapers and infrastructures that meet the diverse and dynamic needs of the population. A world where they can leverage the power and efficiency of remote professionals to deliver projects faster, cheaper, and better. A world where they can innovate and disrupt the industry with new business models and value propositions. This is not a fantasy, but a reality unfolding right now. Welcome to the construction revolution era, where E&C firms increasingly embrace new ideas and seize opportunities like never before.

Construction is poised for a great year in 2023 as it rebounds from the pandemic. The industry will enjoy the fruits of technological progress and high demand for its services. The sky is the limit for what can be accomplished! Here are some key trends unfolding in 2023.

#1 The Age of Construction 4.0 & Labor Scarcity

Interconnected techs will digitize, automate and integrate the construction process across the value chain, which experts are terming Construction 4.0. These technologies include the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, additive manufacturing, drone monitoring and other cyber-physical systems (CPS), and building information modeling (BIM).

According to IMARC, a leading market research group, the construction 4.0 market size was USD 14 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to US$ 35.1 Billion by 2028 at a rate of 15.7% per year from 2023 to 2028.

BIM is a key technology that reduces energy consumption and creates 3D models that prevent errors and delays in projects. It also cuts down on waste materials and carbon emissions during construction. It can also improve worker safety when coupled with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions.

However, the construction industry faces a challenge in finding and hiring skilled workers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index reported that 88% of contractors have had this problem. This comes at a time when the country (the US) has approved its largest infrastructure bill ever.

Guess what? All of these can be outsourced and the best talent can be acquired globally!

Take this for example! Remote construction is a booming industry that has grown from USD 853.2 million in 2022 to nearly USD 974 million in 2023. According to the market analysis, this trend will continue and accelerate at a rate of 14.2% per year until 2033. By then, the market value of remote construction could reach (or even exceed) USD 3.7 billion.

#2 Modular Designs

Imagine a construction company that cares about the planet and uses cutting-edge technologies to create modular buildings. That’s exactly what Modulex Modular Buildings Plc is trying to do! They use artificial intelligence and IoT to design and build eco-friendly structures that can be assembled on-site.

More and more builders are choosing modular construction as a smart and sustainable way of creating structures. Modular buildings are manufactured offsite and then put together on-site

This method saves time, reduces environmental impact, and enhances design quality. Modular buildings also generate less waste and builders can recycle (and reuse) materials. Plus, the buildings can be modernized/moved easily, cutting on resources required for new projects. Experts predict modular construction is around $200 billion in 2023 and will clock a steady growth of 7.4% from 2023 to 2033.

#3 3D Printing

Do you know Aiman Hussein? 

Maybe not, but chances are high that you have seen one of his videos of 3D concrete printers building homes! Meet the growing cult of 3D printing entrepreneurs, which Aiman, the director of printing at US-based startup Alquist 3D, proudly represents. He has clocked over 60K followers and tens of millions of views on his TikTok videos that show 3D concrete printers constructing houses.

Building a 2,000-square-foot home usually takes months. This does not even count the time for designing the plans or installing the windows, power lines, and other finishing touches. But, there is a new and faster way of constructing houses that is emerging: 3D printing. 

The first step to creating a 3D-printed home is the same as any building project: the blueprint. But instead of having construction workers follow the plan on the ground, a bigger 3D printer is used. It is a digital drawing to make a physical structure based on the scale decided by the engineers.

The printer has all the details it needs, such as dimensions and details of the load-bearing capacity of a particular wall (and the materials/thickness required for it). The printing process involves stacking distinct construction materials in layers. However, the process is complex. The printing mix must have certain properties like - faster preliminary setting, pumpable output, ease of constructing layers-on-layers without deformation (buildability), etc.

Nevertheless, 3D Printing is taking the construction industry by storm. According to Grand View Research, the number of 3D printers delivered worldwide in 2021 was 2.2 million and it is projected to reach 21.5 million units by 2030.

#4 Green Tech & Sustainable Construction

The climate crisis is hitting cities and urban areas hard as they struggle to accommodate the growing population and the demand for housing. The construction industry must pivot fast and build with greener methods, or else a global catastrophe is impending!

One of the emerging concepts is net-zero, which is a way of designing and building structures that can generate their own power from renewable sources of energy and disconnect from the regular electricity grid. The Zero in this concept means that the buildings do not use any net energy per year and do not emit any carbon. The renewable sources of energy that are used in the net-zero concept are solar and wind energy.

As the cost of solar cells continues to plunge, more governments are expected to enforce their installation on public and private infrastructure. This also calls for a massive deployment of solar rooftop mapping experts to aid the process.

Cities like London, Los Angeles,  Las Vegas, Paris, and Zurich have already taken the lead when it comes to investments in green construction technology designed to decarbonize the built world. This trend is only about to pick up as the decade progresses.

#5 Invasion of Data Wizards to Optimize A-Z of Construction

The construction industry is adopting a new way of using data-driven insights to improve their processes, forecast their costs, and overcome challenges. By deploying data wizards, businesses can make smarter decisions that enhance their efficiency and reduce their risks, paving the way for better margins.

Businesses are embracing the future with advanced insights that boost their project management and decision-making capabilities. With real-time data from various sources, construction projects can finish faster. By combining ERP and project management into a unified platform, construction businesses will be sharper than ever to compete for profitable projects, implement marketing strategies, and boost sales.

  • The first step is to gather and process construction data from different systems and tools, including paper-based ones. This is done by hand at first and then by machine as the data quality improves.
  • The next step is to use a database platform to organize, analyze, and match the data from different sources to make it consistent.
  • The final step is to use a dashboard visualization tool to show the data in a clear and uniform way, with the right level of detail for the audience. The dashboard makes it easy and efficient to report on key performance indicators at various levels of customization.

A Synopsis of Construction Industry & Macroeconomic Headwinds

Some of the main headwinds that the industry is facing are:

  1. As discussed above, the construction industry is facing a chronic shortage of skilled workers, limiting its capacity and productivity. The labor gap is caused by several factors- an aging workforce, low retention rates, lack of training, and immigration restrictions. The industry needs to attract and retain more talent to meet its current and future requirements.
  2. The global economy is still exposed to shocks and uncertainties, geopolitical conflicts, and policy changes. A slowdown in economic activity could reduce the demand for construction projects and affect profitability.
  3. The construction industry is experiencing rising costs of materials, labor, and transportation due to supply chain disruptions, and inflationary pressures. These cost pressures could squeeze the margins of contractors and developers and make some projects.

These headwinds pose significant threats to the growth and competitiveness of the construction industry. However, they also create opportunities for innovation and differentiation for those who can adapt and pivot to the changing market conditions.

How Flowz Is Propelling The Construction Industry Ambitions?

The construction industry is under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact and contribute to the global goals of mitigating climate change and enhancing social well-being. This calls for uncanny tech roles in the construction sector that can be offshored. Flowz is proud to partner with the construction industry by providing niche professionals in a hassle-free way.

With the right virtual staffing, rapid recruitment process, weekly performance reports, and 100% data fortification, the construction industry can leverage our expertise to roll out projects in a whisker!

Architectural Services

Engineering Services

Wrapping-Up

From planning to designing to construction, technology has been spreading its benefits in all the sub-segments of construction. The future of construction lies with techs such as AI, BIM, and VR. These will oversee the complete construction project while advising on risk management, schedule adherence, structural integrity, and much more. 

The construction industry is yet to witness a significant disruption - something like e-commerce vis-a-vis retail or Fintech vis-a-vis banking & finance. Nevertheless, it is at the cusp of innovative disruptions.


Written by Soham Roy

"Hailing from Howrah, Soham is an avid follower of AI, app development, blockchain, and social media marketing trends. A mass communication graduate, he has a knack of playing with his words while delving into the tech sphere. When not writing, he spends most of his time watching movies, playing cricket and indulge in workout sessions."

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