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Construction Industry Trends for 2021

Blog construction industry trends 2021

After a year that was full of uncertainty and unprecedented changes, 2021 will be a year of growth for the construction industry. Rising costs and labor shortages continue to be a problem — all while the industry is pushed to come up with new and competitive ideas in a business landscape full of stricter regulations that reduce the margin for error and waste.

Everything from scheduling projects and meeting with clients to hiring workers has changed, and many industry trends will be permanently affected by the aftermath of the pandemic. Newer technologies continue to change how people work at a construction site and improve their ability to win projects, which can increase their profit margins. As the industry becomes more competitive and the market shifts, taking advantage of these construction trends will be valuable to your business.
Here are some of the top construction industry trends for 2021 that can help you stay competitive in the market.

#1: Protective Equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the construction industry in a big way, especially when it comes to the guidelines associated with cleanliness and safety. It also includes a growing union influence on projects, which could increase costs and time spent to complete them. The construction industry has also seen a growing number of machines that can identify safety issues and eliminate them one at a time. Wearable technology has also made its way onto the job site. This includes work boots that connect to Wi-FI and can alert others if someone has fallen.

Material-moving “mules” can transport heavy or hazardous materials, and robots can perform certain tasks (such as building scaffolds or laying bricks) autonomously. We’re also starting to see robots replace certain human workers. But in most cases, they’re augmenting human decision-making. This includes processing and evaluating data, which can make room for higher-level jobs. The use of 3D printing also continues to grow, which has resulted in lower transportation risks. And the use of environmental sensors that can detect heat, noise, and wind at construction sites allow workers to be warned in case they need to be evacuated during a natural disaster.

#2: Efficient Technology

Blog construction industry trends 2021

The biggest change for builders and developers for this year is the type of technology being used in the industry — specifically, with regard to innovations that can improve efficiency. Here are some of the devices that will continue to grow through 2021 and beyond:
  • Smart Contracts— Many experts see blockchain technology improving relationships within the construction industry, because it can offer a faster and more secure workflow that will allow everyone to be more productive. Smart contracts can give every organization involved in a project to do business on a shared system. They can buy, track, and pay for services through the system instead of getting contracts and tracking deliverables from third parties. Companies can use smart contracts as an all-in-one system where rules and deadlines are put in place, which is enforced by blockchain technology. This will lead to faster closeouts, improved security, better project tracking, and a more automated supply chain.
  • Construction Drones— The use of drones in the construction industry continues to be one of the fastest growing trends. In fact, the use of the construction tools has increased by 239% year after year. The technology can be used for more than just aerial photography. They can also be used to map large areas over long distances, which can include aerial heat maps and thermal images that can be valuable to a project. Advances in drone software can give construction workers real-time, actionable data that can be used to make quick decisions (which can streamline the entire construction process). Drones can also perform tasks that may be too dangerous for humans, which can reduce the number of injuries on the job site.
  • Augmented Reality— The market for augmented reality has grown tremendously in recent years, especially in the use of consumer technology. But for builders and developers, it can be used with wearable technology and 360-degree video to get a 3D rendering of future projects on their surrounding environments. It can also be used to automate the measurement of buildings, as well as for making architectural and structural changes in a simulated environment. It can even be used to conduct safety training and hazard simulations.
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)Building information technology has helped industry leaders to be more efficient. It allows users to create computer renderings of buildings and utility lines. And because these models can be easily managed, it allows data to be shared more easily so part prefabrication can be done better. This will allow projects to be completed more accurately and on time.
There are many new construction tools that use modern technology to make certain tasks easier and more efficient.

#3: Growing Need for Laborers

Despite the growing use of robots as construction tools, one of the most noticeable trends in the last few years is the increase in the demand for labor. While robots can pick up a lot of the slack, getting quality laborers can be expensive and competitive. There will also be a growing need for a more educated staff to manage and interpret the data being produced by these new technologies, and many of them are being filled up by women. In fact, there has been a 94% increase in female-owned construction companies from 2007 to 2018. And 20% of construction companies promoted a woman to a senior position in 2018.

The construction industry has also been targeting Generation Z in its recruiting efforts. In the past, there was a negative perception toward trade schools. And it has been detrimental in companies’ efforts to hire new talent in the construction industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in its attitudes toward alternative education programs, which has resulted in a more positive attitude toward trade schools. This has allowed construction companies to illustrate the career growth potential within the industry as well as its opportunity to experiment with new technologies.

#4: Remote Worksites and Mobile Access

The use of mobile applications in the construction industry allows for worksite access in a way that has never been possible. This can include real-time inspections, on-site accountability, and accurate measurements that can be taken from a mobile phone camera. COVID-19 has forced teams to collaborate without having physical access to materials, spaces, or even other team members. Now, approval meetings can be done virtually so public projects can move forward without having in-person gatherings. There are also apps that can be used for measuring assistance and asset management — all of which can improve workflow and boost productivity.

#5: Rising Cost of Materials

The cost of construction materials has gone up by 5% over a three-year period ending in November 2020. Rising interest rates are likely to increase all types of costs related to the construction industry and will put pressure on companies. The growing use of technologies (such as drones, AR, and BIM) will be important in maintaining project volume, which will help them to fight this cost pressure.

Innovative living materials and technologies may drive costs up even further, even though they may give customers more savings in the long run. Some of these materials include:
  • Self-healing concrete
  • 3D graphene
  • Transparent aluminum
  • Light-generating concrete
  • Invisible solar cells
If you’re looking for some of the best construction tools on the market, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

#6: Green Building

Green construction has become a standard for many homebuyers, renters, and commercial tenants. But many sustainable and eco-friendly features are considered luxury items, even though they can provide long-term savings. This will most likely change over the next ten years, as ecotech and sustainable construction methods move further into the mainstream. Renewable energy sources made up 11% of the energy market in 2019, which is expected to grow as their accessibility increases. This will open up a huge market, because buildings make up 40% of the country’s energy consumption and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Green construction includes the use of technology that will lower a building’s carbon footprint as well as the use of resources and building models that will reduce the use of energy resources. The greatest driver of green building might be the proof of its value for occupants. Studies have shown that green buildings can have a positive psychological and physiological effect on their inhabitants and even on passersby.

Greenscaping (which involves the outfitting of rooftops with plant coverings and small parks) is a common practice in many urban centers around the world. This has been exemplified by Google’s new multi-tiered headquarters in London. The developers called this project a “landscraper,” which is a building with dimensions that are similar to that of a skyscraper but is built horizontally instead of vertically. It allows for vast greenscapes to cover the building while also offering resistance to strong storms.

#7: Modular and Offsite Construction

Blog construction industry trends 2021

Modular and prefab construction has grown tremendously in recent years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. The modular construction market in the residential sector is expected to soar by 2025, which has been driven by the shortage in skilled labor and the rise of technologies that are designed to cut costs. Newer construction tools that use modern technologies allows prefab and modular buildings to grow larger than what was previously possible.

The CitizentM Bowery Hotel (a 21-story building that opened in downtown Manhattan in 2019) is considered to be the tallest modular construction project in the country, and the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development has recently partnered with a modular developer to start a new affordable housing development in East New York. Many international builders say that they plan to reduce their on-site construction activity to just 25% by 2025, which will be replaced by prefab construction.

The prefab industry hasn’t been spared by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some manufacturers have shut down so they can focus on addressing the shortage of large-scale, hospitality-focused modular construction projects. But despite this rapid change, offsite construction won’t be going anywhere. Using construction tools on modular projects can allow for the better management of employee safety in climate-controlled, ventilated environments. It makes them great for maintaining social distancing requirements in various locales.

#8: Construction Management Software

Good construction management software is important for any construction firm that wants to stay competitive, build a valuable business, and master operational efficiency. While each program will have slight differences in their features and in what they offer, the best ones can handle certain end-to-end needs (such as RFI’s, data compilation, and the sharing of files with team members). It must also be able to handle the following: Some of the best construction management programs for 2021 include:
  • Procore
  • CoConstruct
  • Builderstrend
  • ProjectSight
  • RedTeam
  • Quick Base
Having the right construction management programs is important for any construction company that wants to be successful. Start by looking at its ease of use and its ability to integrate with other programs. You should also look for programs that can be scaled up to help you manage your needs as you grow. Take a close look at their customization options, any upgrades and extra features, as well as their availability of support and training to help you get started.

#9: More Focus on Residential Projects

As global investments from tech companies on complex megaprojects (such as smart cities) increases, the more larger construction companies will choose not to pursue massive public-private construction projects. Instead, they will focus on lower-risk arrangements. This downward trend has led to a growing interest in projects in the private sector. The amount of spending on residential construction in the private sector has gone up by 7% in 2020, and privately-owned housing has grown by 12.8% in that same year.

#10: Smart Cities

Some of the biggest tech companies in the world are investing in megaprojects that will build smart and more sustainable cities, which are more intricate and interconnected than most megaprojects. They also require more intense planning and development prior to commencement. Worldwide spending on intelligent infrastructure development has gone up to $120 billion in 2020, and that number is expected to increase dramatically. Some of the most recognized global megaprojects that are currently in development include:
  • Masdar City in the Emirates.
  • Songdo International Business District in South Korea.
  • Hudson Yards in New York City.
  • India’s Dehli Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
These projects have cost anywhere from tens of billions to over $100 billion. They're also expected to influence the economy, improve infrastructure, and help the environment.

If you’re looking for a place where you can buy quality construction tools online, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of tools are used in construction?

Construction workers use a variety of tools that can help them to perform a variety of tasks. This can include safety equipment, hand construction tools, as well as trucks and other types of heavy-duty equipment. Feel free to look at what we have in stock, so you can find a tool that will meet your specific needs.

How do I keep track of my construction tools?

The first step to keeping track of new construction tools is to keep an accurate inventory, which can be difficult if they continue to be used out in the field. There are some things you can do to help you manage your inventory. You can have each job site use an Excel spreadsheet, which you can distribute to each manager. And from there, you can assign a barcode to each tool. If an item on your list is found without a barcode number, you will know the item hasn’t been counted.

How do I take care of my construction tools?

Once you purchase new construction tools, you'll need to perform routine maintenance. The same is true for any power tools. Because of their mechanical and electrical parts, power tools are more susceptible to problems that are caused by improper maintenance, as well as by dust and debris accumulation (which can lead to general malfunction).

Here are some helpful tips on how you can take care of your construction tools:
  • Keep your tools clean.
  • Store your tools correctly.
  • Inspect your tools for wear or damage.
  • Lubricate any moving parts.
  • Keep your batteries in good working order.
If you’re looking for a place where you can buy the best construction tools on the market, be sure to look at what we have at Engineer Supply.

Can I rent construction tools?

Buying new construction tools can be expensive. And if you have a big job to do, spending money to get more vehicles and other equipment can also be time-consuming. Renting, on the other hand, can be fast and easy. And it might be more cost-effective than buying them.

Where can I buy new construction tools?

If you’re looking for a place where you can buy the best construction tools on the market, you can find what you need at Engineer Supply. We have products from some of the best manufacturers on the market. So if you’re ready to buy your next set of construction tools, be sure to look at what we have in stock.
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