Construction Trends You Can Expect in 2022

A quick look at what trends are expected for the construction industry in 2022.
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2021 was a year of significant recovery for the construction industry, especially in infrastructure and residential. What will 2022 bring? According to Dodge Construction Network, construction starts will rise 6% in 2022, which is above levels for peak year 2019. Here’s a quick look at some trends we’re expecting in 2022.

Infrastructure and Jobs

On November 6, 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), said to rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails. The legislation intends to help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making improvements for ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.

In the United States, 1 in 5 miles of highways and major roads, and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. The legislation will reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years and invest $110 billion in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges. The legislation also includes the first ever Safe Streets and Roads for All program to support projects to reduce traffic fatalities, which claimed more than 20,000 lives in the first half of 2021.

For the construction industry, this means we’re about to be busy!

Increased use of Technology

While the labor shortage continues to be a major issue for the construction industry, companies are finding new ways to work smarter with less people. Although the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has big plans to increase the workforce, companies will still need to find ways to get the most of their employees and improve processes. This is where technology becomes a huge advantage. 

• Using software platforms for team/stakeholder communication and project management 

• Robots to replace humans who perform repetitive tasks such as brick laying

• The use of AI and simulations in building design

• 3D printing

• Self-driving machinery

• Drone mapping software, such as TraceAir, for project management and land surveying

• Wearable sensors such as heart and temperature monitors to improve worker safety

• Automating processes such as billing 

A strong technology culture is essential to the success of any construction team. More than just embracing new technologies, companies need to reward their teams for innovation and show a willingness to change existing processes to make room for new tools that improve operational efficiencies. 

Pressure on the bottom line

Although construction turnover has increased in recent years, net profits in the industry remain slim. According to Deloitte, construction earnings before interest and tax account for 5.5% of a company’s sales — which leaves little wiggle room for any unplanned expenses.

The cost of practically all building materials have gone up. In addition, the workforce is demanding higher salaries and better benefits. This also means there will be less room for errors and disputes. Companies will need to find more efficient and accurate ways to conduct their operations, manage billing, decrease downtime, and improve their margins

Smart Cities

Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today and 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030 (UN). Large populations demand large resources. Residents will need access to water, efficient and environmentally-friendly transportation, clean air, and practical sanitation and waste management. Smart cities use IoT (internet of things) devices such as connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyze data. The cities then use this data to improve infrastructure, public utilities and services, and more. With the clever use of smart city practices and widespread deployment of IoT technology, the cities of tomorrow will be able to meet the demands of their residents in an effective and efficient way.

Connected technologies and big data can create smart solutions. These solutions can solve problems, increase the quality of life for a city’s residents, and lower the consumption of resources. As smart cities become more common, it will change the structure of projects, making them more complex and with more rigorous guidelines. Communication, technology, and the willingness to adapt will be crucial.

Sustainable Materials and Practices

With society becoming more conscious of the environment and the rapid growth of infrastructure and the population, project owners are now looking for sustainable building materials to include in their properties. Sustainably-built homes and buildings can also increase the resale value of a property in a forward-thinking market, and at the same time, help save on utility and maintenance costs. In 2022, we expect to see an increased use of 

• Solar Panels

• Natural materials such as wood, cotton, stone, and clay

• Recycled materials such as old tires, concrete, copper, and reclaimed wood

• Remote technologies that allow companies to spend less time driving between job sites 

The future for the construction industry is looking exciting and promising. Tools like TraceAir improve workflows and communication for land developers, homebuilders, grading contractors, general contractors, and the entire project team, allowing you to work smarter.

Make 2022 your best year yet!

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