2020 witnessed an unprecedented disruption, especially in the construction industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The pandemic severely hit the UK’s construction industry as monthly output growth slowed to 3.0% in August. However, the trend caused a rise in teleworking, social distancing, resource shifts, breaks in supply chains and income disruption at various levels.
As the new year approaches, some of these trends would remain while new ones come to play. Here are a few construction trends for 2021.
Safety has always been a concern in the construction industry. However, the pandemic has created some new provisions due to the consistent adjustments to lessen the virus’ spread. These measures include separation of workers and upgraded equipment and protocols to ensure cleanliness at the workplace. This has led to the creation of smaller teams and shift systems to keep the worksite less congested while maintaining the standard workplace practice of teamwork and cooperation. Masks, sanitisers, and the restriction in sharing tools will be the norm.
Following the pandemic’s outbreak, anything associated with “remote” appeared to record significant growth in the last few months. Technology has presented new ways to get a task completed without necessarily being present on site. For the construction industry, the use of drones on commercial job sites has seen a substantial adoption. Studies show that 52% of the UK’s construction sites use drone technology compared to 33% in 2017. This figure is likely to increase as more firms adopt technology to map, survey, and monitor the job site.
Prefab building or modular construction has recorded rapid growth. These manufacturing processes give a massive boost to the construction industry as it is more suitable in recent times. Manufactured structures are built to advance low workplace density. They are assembled in large, airy facilities with a lot of space to observe social distancing protocols. The equipment used, such as conveyors, lifts, and ceiling cranes, are specially designed to allow fewer workers to move heavy components and labour cost.
3D printing has played a significant role in the construction company this year and will continue to do so in 2021. Across the globe, 3D printing innovation is already in use commercially with expectations of rapid development. 3D printing can be used in factory work, although on a smaller scale. This process is used to develop small elements of larger assemblies and construction projects. Since it is considered cost-effective, more designers will look to take advantage of it, probably for years to come.
Diversification of Supply Chain
If there is one thing paramount to the construction industry, then it’s capital. However, capital is often affected by uncertainties. The current pandemic has made it hard to fund projects, especially the huge ones. Overall spending on non-residential structures is expected to decrease in 2021. With the projected public debt increase, infrastructural expenditure is more likely to be delayed. Furthermore, the delay has already begun in the private manufacturing division.
For many within the construction and even civil engineering industries, these trends should be considered as a new year approaches and these changes (and many more) are implemented.