This year ushered in a variety of significant changes in the construction industry. Many of the changes seemed to revolve around technology in an effort to render building processes more efficient. As the construction industry continues to progress, contractors are always searching for the latest innovative techniques while remaining as cost-effective as possible. Since 2017 is quickly winding down, now is a good time to preview some of the top construction trends that are being predicted for 2018:

Industry Growth

top construction trends

Dodge Data & Analytics Chief Economist Robert Murray delivers the 2018 Dodge Construction Outlook. Photo Courtesy of Dodge Data & Analytics

The 2018 Dodge Construction Outlook suggests that total U.S. construction starts for 2018 will climb 3% to $765 billion. Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics Robert Murray said, “For 2018, there are several positive factors which suggest that the construction expansion has further room to proceed. The U.S. economy next year is anticipated to see moderate job growth. Long term interest rates may see some upward movement but not substantially. While market fundamentals for commercial real estate won’t be quite as strong as this year, funding support for construction will continue to come from state and local bond measures.”

Tax reform and a potential infrastructure bill also play a part in the changes for 2018, according to Murray: “Two areas of uncertainty relate to whether tax reform and a federal infrastructure program get passed, with their potential to lift investment.”

Photo Courtesy of Dodge Data & Analytics

Murray also explains that individual sectors will vary: “Overall, the year 2018 is likely to show some construction project types register gains while other project types settle back, with the end result being a 3% increase for total construction starts. “By major sector, gains are predicted for residential building, up 4%; and nonresidential building, up 2%; while non-building construction stabilizes after two years of decline.”

Enhanced Safety Protocol

Expect to see improved safety procedures in the field to reduce on-site injuries. A growing number of leaders will rely on tools, like safety mobile apps, to improve the overall safety protocol and communication around job sites.

Modular Construction Demand

The demand for buildings that are constructed off-site is predicted to increase throughout 2018. Modular construction is quickly becoming a legitimate alternative to traditional onsite building because it provides better quality management and improved completion time. Pop-up retailers are expected to continue driving the demand for modular construction due to its cost-effectiveness and flexibility.

Technological Advances

It should come as no surprise to those in the construction industry that the use of technology is expected to remain a valuable resource used by contractors and builders next year. Construction experts are predicting that the use of virtual reality will increase across the industry so that more companies can envision finished projects much earlier in the conceptual stages. Some other technologies that are expected to expand and help progress the industry in 2018 are 3D printing, the use of drones, and autonomous vehicles.

Some other trends to look for in 2018 include rising prices for building materials, increased demand for both residential and non-residential projects and more legislation regarding energy-efficiency and green design.

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