2022 was a big year for construction, especially after a period of stagnancy during the pandemic. Now, demand for construction– both residential and commercial– is higher than ever. The commercial construction industry is continuing to grow and expand in many different directions.
Below, we will round up some of the commercial construction industry trends that are emerging in 2023, as well as some of the concerns that remain for this industry in the new year.
- What Is Commercial Construction?
- Emerging Commercial Construction Trends
- Concerns In Commercial Construction
- In Conclusion
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Commercial Construction?
First things first, you should have an understanding of what commercial construction entails. There are a few different sectors of construction under the umbrella of the construction industry. Commercial construction refers to the design, renovation, or construction from the ground up of commercial structures– as the name might suggest. Commercial structures are buildings that are meant to make money for the building owner. Some examples of commercial structures are office buildings, retail spaces, or warehouses. A house, for instance, would not be considered to be a commercial structure or the building of the house to be commercial construction.
Emerging Commercial Construction Trends
When it comes to the construction industry, clients often demand a lot from their builders and contractors. These expectations make the commercial construction sector more competitive, which then makes certain innovations and improvements necessary.
Read on for some of the trends that are emerging in commercial construction for 2023.
The first trend for commercial construction in the coming year is modular design. What is modular design, you may ask? This is where a building or structure is constructed somewhere else offsite– often in a warehouse– and then put together at the actual job site location. Modular buildings do still meet the same building codes that conventionally built structures meet. The big benefits here are that modular design can help to decrease construction time, meaning that it is more efficient and saves time, and can be done simultaneously with other on site work. Plus, modular design can be done, rain or shine, as the pieces are not out in the elements on the job site! In addition, modular design allows for less waste. It is easier for the building crews to recycle their used materials and control inventory, too.
The next of our commercial construction themes is design technology. Design technology refers to the technology that influences the construction industry. Technology has been implemented into all sectors and industries these days, but especially in construction. It has made its way into just about every aspect of this particular industry. An example of technology that is used frequently in commercial construction is Building Information Modeling, or BIM. This is one of the most popular technologies in the construction sector, in fact. It helps during the design process of a building because it allows for a person to create a virtual building model, which can improve the efficiency of drafting and design. Another benefit of BIM is that it saves time and money every time it is used for a project! During the virtual walkthrough of the BIM building, contractors can then identify any potential issues before work has even begun. Planning has become much more efficient with BIM.
Unfortunately, the construction industry is one of the industries that contributes the most to fossil fuels. Building operations and construction create about 40 percent of global energy related carbon dioxide emissions. This is why green building is such an important emerging trend in the construction sector. The construction industry is taking big steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Plus, this is something that many clients are asking for these days, as climate change is a hot button topic. Now that consumers are aware of it and its effects on our earth, they are looking for green building materials in every industry they can find.
Some of the ways that construction companies are trying to be more sustainable are by switching to eco friendly and sustainable building materials and using locally sourced materials, as well as trying to minimize material waste from their demolitions during the building process. These sustainable efforts can also help to save a company money and have an effect on their bottom line.
Remote work is a large part of our new workscape, especially after the past couple of years, and it is becoming more prevalent in a number of industries. It is something that has even made its way into the construction sector. Of course, it is not possible for workers to build a commercial building from their living room, so this does not look like the remote working of most industries. However, remote worksites are on the rise for the construction industry. What this means is that some of the phases of construction– especially when contractors are involved– are taking place remotely, with the help of cloud based apps for communication. These digital tools and apps make it easy for employees to communicate with those who are actually on site. This can be seen often with those in higher level or management roles, or contractors who may not be on site every day.
Another trend for 2023 is autonomous machinery in commercial construction. These can include technology that has been a part of the construction sector for a while, as well as new technological advancements. For instance, automatic grade control has been a part of commercial construction for a while. On the other hand, robotic rebar tying machinery is a newer addition to the sector. It helps to eliminate some of the more dangerous, laborious, or even repetitive tasks that may arise in the construction process. One of the reasons that autonomous machinery is so important– and is becoming even more so– is because the construction industry is going through labor shortages. Autonomous machinery can help to fill some of these empty jobs and manual tasks so that the worksite functions smoothly and the job adheres to project deadlines in a competitive market.
Safety and Efficiency Sensors
Another of the trends that we have begun to see even more in commercial construction, and which will continue to increase in the new year, is safety and efficiency sensors. What exactly does this mean?, you may wonder. Safety and efficiency sensors refers to different sensors on the job site, like sensors that are wearable and can report if a worker falls or has an accident.
Another example of these sensors is a sensor that is on machinery as a safety backup sensor. Of course, the advantages of safety sensors are fairly clear– it will keep workers safe and prevent accidents on the job site whenever possible. This is another example of how technology has become so important for the construction sector. There are plenty of sensors on the machines used every day on a construction site, too, collecting data– this data can then be analyzed for valuable insights, such as on efficiency.
This trend is a particularly interesting one– subscriptions. As many of the types of automated equipment are very expensive, some companies are beginning to test a subscription or rental model with their high tech equipment. Equipment as a service, or EaaS, is going to allow both contractors and established construction companies to lease equipment for specified amounts of time, rather than investing in the equipment permanently. This not only saves money, but means that the renters would not have to maintain the equipment besides the regular daily maintenance when it is on site. This also helps to save time and money by freeing up employees and resources.
Concerns In Commercial Construction
Of course, though commercial construction is continuing to expand and innovate, the industry is experiencing some growing pains too. These growing pains have largely carried over from the previous free years.
Take a look below for some of the concerns that you should be aware of when it comes to commercial construction.
Supply Chain Issues
The price and availability of materials can greatly affect the construction industry, and we are still seeing the effects of all of the supply chain delays and other issues of the last few years. For example, if the price of wood or other materials are higher than they used to be, this will mean that a business has to raise their own prices on the project to make a profit. The availability of materials can affect the timeline on a project, as it is impossible to build a structure if you do not have the proper materials on site to work with!
Another issue that the construction industry is running into is the shrinking workforce. This is not only in commercial construction, but across the board in the construction sector. While the need for these construction industries is growing, the workforce– or the pool of qualified and skilled workers– is not. This, of course, affects the ability of a company to take on construction projects, as well as to complete them properly and stick to agreed upon timelines. Due to this, many companies are trying to be innovative and come up with new solutions to deal with the worker shortage.
As outlined above, there are many different trends that are appearing in commercial construction and will be even more prevalent in the new year. Many of these involve technology or varying smart building techniques that can increase efficiency. It is important to understand, though, that when we call them trends, these are not trends that will fade out in another year or two. Rather, these are innovations. They will be improved upon as the years go by so that the industry can stay competitive and ahead of its workers’ and clients’ needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the construction industry trends?
Industries are constantly evolving, and the construction industry is one of these. After all, if an industry does not begin to change with the times, it can be left behind– or may not be able to properly fill the needs of the community as it changes. Some of the top trends that we are seeing emerge in the construction industry include sensors to improve safety and efficiency, and autonomous machinery.
What is the biggest challenge facing the construction industry today?
There are a few very specific challenges that the construction industry is now running into, and these are fairly even across the board, regardless of where a construction company is located. One of these challenges is a labor shortage and skill shortage. This can be attributed, in part, to the move away from going into the trades in some of the newer generations– many more children were encouraged to go to college. Supply chain issues, especially after the pandemic, are another challenge that we see affecting the construction industry currently.
What type of construction is most profitable?
There are a couple different types of construction that are very profitable. Typically, the sector within the construction industry that is the most profitable is specialized construction. Specialized construction refers to when a construction method requires a technical expertise– and can only be provided by a pool of specialized contractors. Of course, this only applies if you know what you are doing within this sector! Some of the trades that are most profitable (which can also be considered to be specialized construction) include cabinet making, cement manufacturing, and aluminum doors and window manufacturing.
What are the 3 factors that may influence the construction industry?
The construction industry, like most other industries, does not exist in a vacuum. There are different factors and variables that can greatly affect the industry, and can either increase or lower demand. These factors can also affect the ability of a construction company to do a job. The three main factors here that could do this are known as labours, resources, and environmental conditions. For example, labours can refer to the availability of skilled workers and contractors to staff a company or complete a particular project. Resources, of course, typically refers to materials and the supply chain– the availability and cost of resources would fall underneath this umbrella.