Shaping Construction Project Management 

There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped emerging trends in the construction industry. 

Disruption to demand, supplies, and labor has focused minds on strategies that will allow construction to continue safely and seamlessly as the economy recovers. 

We are also likely to witness people showing greater enthusiasm to become involved in the planning of their communities, as we further digest the effects of the heightened racial tensions of 2020.

Here are what we believe will be the major trends developing through the remainder of 2021.

  1. Quality and safety

We’re likely to see a huge extra effort to ensure that quality and safety are linked to planning. There are now new policies and procedures needed to ensure the safety of workers on-site, with respect to COVID and irrespective of vaccination.

We expect measures such as social distancing, PPE, and sanitization to continue, and project managers will need to show how these impact budgets and timelines of construction projects. 

We should also remember that it is not only physical health that must be considered. The construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates of all industries. Maintaining a healthy working environment will be high on the agenda to combat mental health issues in construction.

  1. Environment and sustainability

Sustainability and environmentally friendly construction, including the use of green materials and working methods, is another area in which we are all dedicated to improvement. 

We should expect deeper examination of a project’s environmental credentials and specifications from the planning level and moving forward, including the assignment of contracts.

Materials that are likely to become more prevalent in construction include timbercrete, hempcrete, and bamboo.

  1. Modern construction methods and technology

Allied to green issues, modern construction methods will play an increasingly important role in the industry. We are likely to see prefabrication and modular construction trend upwards (the global modular construction market is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 5.75% between 2020 and 2025). This trend may be faster than forecast, as prefabrication also reduces on-site health and safety concerns.

We may also see 3D printing being used to build complex structures, reducing worker density and time to build.

3D printing’s ability to produce parts on demand, as well as its inherent cost savings and flexibility, are unleashing creative new solutions that will drive construction technology forward and toward greater sustainability practices. In the office, we think of 3D printing as layering plastic. On construction sites and in prefabrication facilities, 3D printing is executed using a nozzle that layers concrete.

Building Information Management (BIM) is replacing CAD, helping to produce higher-quality building design and directing the construction process more effectively. The virtual nature of this technology allows ‘virtual construction’ to test actual construction, and for project managers to learn about a project’s potential pitfalls before work is started.

  1. Local supplies and contractors

As the pandemic halted global trade, supply lines have been disrupted, forcing many construction projects to be delayed or suspended. To unblock supply chains, contractors looked toward local suppliers, and we expect this trend to continue. Contractors will not want their work to be affected by poor supply chain and access to materials.

Similarly, we expect project managers and city planners to seek greater involvement of local, smaller contractors. This will help to generate community involvement in the project and grow the local economy, as projects provide jobs for the people who are paying for those projects.

  1. Constructing community through community involvement

Federal, state, county, and city authorities are raising the profile of community involvement in developing their communities. We expect (and hope for) greater emphasis on community involvement from an early stage, with projects run to help develop local skills, deliver local jobs, and develop a vision for the future that everyone can get behind.

Emerging trends that will become the new normal

It is hard to forecast the future with absolute certainty, but our experience in the construction industry combined with society’s recent experience has led us to identify these five areas as the major trends in construction in 2021. 

We expect that these trends will provide a roadmap for the future of the construction industry, as we benefit from more technology, modern construction methods, and localized supply and job creation. At the heart of this will be the creation of buildings and neighborhoods that deliver the communities in which people belong and don’t only work and live.

To learn more about our commitment to provide project management that delivers all the above, contact us.

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