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Construction Dive shared its predictions for commercial construction trends in 2017.  Following we summarize key takeaways on time saving trends that made the list of industry trends to watch.

1.  Offsite / Modular / Prefab Construction

By no means new to commercial construction, modular or prefab offsite construction is, however, a growing trend.  

Why it’s useful?

With pressures to condense construction schedules while maintaining quality and containing cost, offsite construction and prefabricated components are a smart solution.  Using prefabricated / modular components, such as HVAC assemblies created offsite or even entire modular bathrooms, can save onsite labor cost, accelerate the construction timeline and support quality.

The construction time and labor savings are obvious, especially if the project calls for multiple prefabricated units, for example modular bathrooms for a multi-tenant project or hotel. Quality is supported if components are assembled in a manufacturing setting as opposed to onsite, where weather and exposure to the elements may be a factor.

If it’s so great, why is it not more common?

If offsite construction / modular solutions provide so much value, why aren’t we seeing more of it in construction?  Industry experts polled by Construction Dive theorize that it is simply because the construction industry is slow to adopt new methods.  No one wants to be the first to try something and then it not go well.  Once the trend gains momentum, however, it is expected to become mainstream.

2. New Technologies, Internet of Things & Virtual Reality

We live in a tech world, and it’s not surprising that technology is enhancing the way that contractors manage their business, collect information and communicate with staff and clients.   It is, however, a growing trend in commercial construction.  Inc. Magazine cited construction technology as one of the best industries to start a new business in 2017, and new technology was a strong theme in Construction Dive’s breakdown of industry trends to watch.  Some of the examples highlighted by Construction Dive follow.

Surveying

Save time and increase surveying accuracy by surveying a construction site virtually or in person, using laser scanners, drones and satellite imagery.

Sensors, Trackers and Wearables to Manage Staff and Equipment

Wearable sensors can track workers in the field to record labor time and to promote safety by notifying workers of job site hazards / areas to avoid.  Sensors on machinery can also notify when a machine needs repair.

Data Management

With data regarding labor, machinery, sites and job progress, all perhaps collected from different sources, technologies that consolidate and translate data into valuable and actionable information save data computation time and are a growing construction tech trend.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Imagine walking into a project plan in a virtual reality simulator, training employees on a virtual job site or even complimenting modeling with augmented reality technology. This is the stuff of a not too distant future.

Virtual reality would save time.  Centralized access through virtual reality would allow design reviews and trainings to be conducted without the need to travel to the construction site, and for pre-construction modeling, design adjustments could be made prior to construction, thereby saving time.

Large construction and architecture firms are already developing / using virtual reality technologies.  Although far from mainstream, as it is cost prohibitive, even for the major firms, I can imagine seeing a future where virtual reality is more widely used in commercial construction.  Construction Dive credits Builtr for its segment on virtual reality.

Source and Credits

To read the full Construction Dive article, please click here

Opinions expressed by Garrison Construction Group, LLC do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  Construction Dive or any other sources cited in this post.