2024 is officially here and in the construction industry, companies are already gearing up for another year of new technologies and continued challenges. Here are 5 construction trends for 2024 to look out for.
1 | Emerging New Technologies
It’s no secret that technology was a hot topic in 2023, but you can expect the construction industry to start using even more new technologies in the new year.
Some emerging construction technologies to watch for in 2024:
- Drones– Companies can use drones to inspect the worksite for safety issues, they are especially useful for hard to reach areas. Drones can also be used for site mapping and security. They can even take high resolution images and create highly accurate topographical maps of the construction site.
- Wearable and worksite sensors– Worksite sensors can prevent accidents with GPS and biometric tracking. You can attach these smart sensors to worker’s PPE to track slips and falls, warn workers about hazards, and detect noise, dust, temperature, and hazardous substances.
- Robotics–Robots are increasingly being used in the construction industry. From 3D printing to rebar tying robots, our robot friends can help us with the most repetitive, backbreaking tasks. In 2024, construction companies are likely to focus on safety so expect to see more robots on the job-site.
2 | Push for Sustainability
The push for sustainable construction is likely to continue and intensify in 2024. Not only will there be even more demand for sustainable projects from consumers, but you can expect government environmental regulations to continue to evolve and increase. This can be challenging for construction companies as currently, sustainable construction comes at a higher initial cost. Luckily, as the industry continues to innovate, clean-running equipment and lower-carbon building practices will likely become more and more accessible and thus– less expensive.
Some sustainable construction innovations to look out for in 2024:
- Net-zero/ Zero Energy Buildings– Zero energy buildings are designed to consume as little energy as possible. The goal is for these buildings is to only produce as much energy as they can consume- i.e., produce zero carbon emissions. Net-zero buildings can improve air quality, reduce energy bills, and lower overall carbon emissions.
- Renewable energy integration– The construction industry is responsible for “39% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.” To combat this, construction companies are integrating renewable energy technologies like passive building methods as well as solar, wind, and geothermal energy systems.
- Green materials– You can expect companies to use even more green materials in 2024. Materials like recycled construction materials, bamboo, reclaimed wood, sustainable steel, and rammed earth materials are all becoming increasingly popular.
3 | Connected Construction sites
In the new year expect construction sites to become even more connected through technology like wireless and digital communication systems. Many construction sites are installing technology systems that allow a network of workers, equipment, vehicles, and devices to communicate with each other and their organization in real time. This interconnectedness will lead to better communication about hazards, more accurate planning and coordination, reduce errors, and increase productivity.
Connected construction sites might include technologies like:
- Asset Tracking
- Synced Time Clocks
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
- Computer Vision
- Real-time Data Analytics
- Predictive Maintenance
- Hazard prevention through tracking
- Real-time site monitoring
4 | Off-site Construction
Off-site construction is a construction method where much of the building construction work is done off-site in a controlled, factory environment. The finished structures are then transported and installed into the construction site. Offsite construction can be more sustainable, less risky for workers, faster, more efficient, and cost effective. In 2024 expect to see more companies utilizing offsite construction for these reasons.
- Modular Homes: One example of a kind of off-site construction is “box” or “modular homes.” Box homes are homes that are built in smaller modules in an offsite, factory location. Then, the modules are transported to the homeowner’s property and installed. Despite their name, these homes are becoming increasingly aesthetically pleasing and popular. To learn more about modular construction see this article.
- 3D Printing: Another form of offsite construction can be found in 3D printing. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, can be done on site or off-site in a factory setting. In construction, 3D printers take a building design from a digital file and “print” it out in sequential layers using a large robot. Some materials currently being used for 3D printing in construction are concrete, cement, mortar, plastic, mud, rice waste, sand, and even metal and stone. 3D printing is growing in popularity in construction because of its quick, sustainable, and convenient process.
5 | Increasing Need for New Talent
Last year was a tough one for construction labor shortages. In June we reported data from a report by the U.S. Department of Labor that said that, “while construction job openings increased by some 129,000 in February, hiring decreased by 18,000.” And according to abc.org, in order to fill the construction worker gap, the industry must hire 342,000 additional workers (on top of normal hiring numbers).”
And the numbers have only gotten more dire with a reported 546,000 additional workers needed on top of the normal pace of hiring for 2024. This means that the construction industry will likely still need to fill many more positions in the new year. This year, the industry particularly needs to fill roles like: field engineers, superintendents, project managers, safety and quality managers, architects and engineers. So, if you’re interested in any of these careers, now may be the time to apply.
You can expect 2024 to be another year of increasingly innovative technologies that change the way we build. We might have some old trends like labor shortages holding us back, but hopefully they’ll be offset by new tech and job opportunities.
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