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11 Key trends and developments in the construction industry

Builder working on a roof top

The construction industry is continuously evolving.

Let’s take a closer look at current trends and developments in the construction industry.

1. Cloud-based services

According to ‘Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek’ (CBS), approximately 50% of the companies that are active in the construction industry use cloud-based services.

Delivered on demand over the internet, cloud-based services offer the possibility to access data and systems on all devices. This allows businesses to operate from anywhere and at any time, while having the data stored safely and securely in the cloud.

Previously, many construction companies were apprehensive of transferring to cloud-based services due to the substantial investment that had to be made. Luckily today, more companies are acknowledging that this assumption was wrong.

And the adoption of SaaS (Software as a Service) cloud-based services in the construction industry is steadily on the rise.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the construction industry results in an increased operational efficiency. It also helps decrease costs and increase security, both in planning and on site.

AI is a solution that allows a system to recognize and imitate human behavioural patterns.

Therefore, the system is learning to act on its own.

Machine Learning (ML) plays a big role in this process. ML occurs when a computer system learns from data and improve its accuracy over time. By gathering more information, the computer system is starting to acquire more knowledge about a particular subject.

With this knowledge the computer system understands more about a particular field of work and is able to complete tasks without the human contribution or additional programming.

3. 3D printing

A growing trend that is set to capture a larger market share in the coming years is 3D printing.

The first form of this revolution is counter crafting, which means 3D printing of the circumference of a house. This means that floors and walls can be printed on location. It can significantly reduce cost, increase the speed of the manufacturing process and offer more flexibility in design work.

4. Sustainable and circular construction

In the near future, the construction industry is going to face an important issue – the need for sustainable construction. A growing number of serious environmental rules and requirements have affected the work of construction companies.

Nowadays it’s essential to improved efficiency and minimalize carbon emission. Energy-efficiency, better thermal performance, recycling of old materials and reducing waste are key activities that need to be focused on.

Circular construction is an efficient way for construction companies to reduce their environmental footprint. By using more sustainable energy sources and recycled materials construction companies are able to achieve circular construction.

The main sources that need to be tackled are construction materials. This will help reduce the amount of waste that is being produced.

5. Modular construction

Modular buildings and modular houses are prefabricated buildings that contain several sections called modules.

Modular construction methods differ from conventional construction methods. The components or units are manufactured at external locations and later transported to a building site, where the final assembling of the prefabricated buildings takes place.

6. ERP and CRM solutions

The construction industry is starting to discover digital resources, which are already broadly in use within different industries. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a system that helps with managing and automating business processes in such business units as finance, production, human resources and supply chain.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a system that can streamline and centralize sales, marketing and service processes. CRM helps companies to marginally increase customer satisfaction and achieve sales targets quicker.

7. BIM

Today’s construction industry is in an active period of digitalization.

A growing number of construction companies are working with BIM (Building Information Model). This is a digital model that contains all physical and functional features of a building. BIM allows to collect all the project-related information in one place, helping all parts of an organization to work efficiently in tandem.

8. Project management software

The need for project support through software is growing rapidly.

Project management software helps to reduce complexity of operations and improves communication between teams. Handy for planners, project management tools are agendas, to-do lists, task allocation, tracking and deadlines. Interdepartmental cooperation is supported by forums, chats, messaging and whiteboards.

Project management software also makes it possible to exchange and edit information by project members.

9. Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) integrates 3D models of terrains or buildings directly through a camera. Realistic and accurate on-screen pictures show how new buildings are added into excisiting surroundings, how the excisiting underground infrastructure looks like or how a landscape project fits in the surroundings.

With the help of AR, planners are able to detect potential problems at early stages of construction, and it becomes easier for customers to make decisions.

Also, AR makes it possible to discuss problems in advance based on more accurate data, and thus avoid errors.

10. Customer-centricity

Recently, the customer-centric approach to work has become more prominent.

Customer-centricity is a way of working that strives for higher customer satisfaction and customer retention. This is especially important as it is more difficult and expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing customers.

Companies that put customers first are more likely to attain their sales targets. Therefore, the efforts of increasing customer satisfaction overtake the efforts of targeting new customers.

11. Sharing knowledge

The sharing of knowledge is becoming more and more important.

Customers are more critical than before and demand higher standards from their suppliers. They need demonstration of skill, proof of competence, and strategic insightfulness.

By sharing the insights a company is able to demonstrate its business expertise and showcase its hands-on experience, which, in turn, creates trust in customers’ minds. Knowledge sharing is typically done via webinars, blogs, videos, and whitepapers, among others.

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