As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for all industries to look back on the trends of 2022 and the emerging trends expected to grow in 2023 – and the construction industry is no different.
Whether you work in construction or just like to stay on top of what’s going on within the industry, it’s always valuable to have an idea of what’s coming next to help you stay ahead of the curve. In a significant global industry facing constant challenges, staying informed about potentially big changes is more important than ever to help businesses adapt and thrive.
To keep competitive, take a look at six of the top trends that are expected to make a big impact on the construction industry in 2023 – which are also likely to have lasting effects for years to come.
Let’s start with a less optimistic trend – the construction industry labour shortage. The lack of qualified construction labourers has been an ongoing issue for the past few years at least, and looks set to continue into 2023 after reaching the highest levels yet in 2022.
As reported by Construction News, a survey by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) found that 75% of contractors have experienced problems with recruiting skilled workers, while another survey of supply chain firms found that 96% were affected by shortages of skilled workers.
A four-year report from the Construction Skills Network (CSN) predicts that the UK will need 266,000 more construction workers by 2026 in order to meet demand. It’s likely that efforts will increase to train young school leavers and to recruit workers from overseas to attempt to close the gap between the availability of and demand for skilled labourers.
The cost of construction materials hit a 40-year high in 2021, with no relief in 2022 as the price of building materials continued to rise. With the global pandemic and a Brexit-fuelled driver shortage fuelling supply chain disruptions, followed by the war in Ukraine, it’s been a difficult time for sourcing affordable construction materials.
Figures from Statista show that the cost of most building materials and fixtures have increased by around 30-50% between 2019 and 2022, with key materials like steel almost doubling in price. Unfortunately, Oxford Economics predicts that these increased costs aren’t likely to drop in 2023.
While supply chains are recovering and availability of materials is higher, soaring inflation across all industries will continue to affect construction, too. Planning as far in advance as possible will become crucial for projects to go ahead without spiralling budgets.
With the built environment responsible for 40% of carbon emissions in the UK, and the construction sector contributing up to 11% of global emissions, it’s becoming more necessary than ever for the construction industry to turn towards more environmentally friendly solutions.
Governments and corporations around the world are looking for ways to increase sustainability and achieve ‘net zero’ targets, where the amount of carbon emissions is offset by the amount removed. A report by Honeywell and Reuters revealed that 87% of respondents considered carbon neutrality to be an important goal for their building organisation.
‘Green’ building involves designing and constructing eco-friendly buildings using sustainable materials and methods, reducing emissions during the construction and ensuring that the building is energy efficient for the long term. As the industry struggles with the cost of traditional materials, everyone should be looking at sustainable alternatives for 2023 and beyond.
Anyone who follows architectural and construction design trends will know that modular homes are on the rise. Modular construction involves manufacturing the parts off-site at a dedicated factory, then transporting them to a building site for fast assembly.
According to Make UK, this method is up to 50% faster and produces 90% less material waste than traditional building methods, reducing carbon emissions by up to 83% during the construction process. The materials and build still have to meet industry codes and safety regulations, but it also provides an opportunity to be as sustainable as possible.
This also helps with keeping costs down and improving green credentials. With the benefits of modular buildings vastly outweighing the negatives, it’s not surprising that this is a growing market – with further growth expected over the next few years.
The construction industry has long been using newly developed technologies, including robotics and automation. However, innovations in digital technologies like AI and robots such as drones and 3D printers are developing faster than ever, offering more opportunities for onsite and offsite applications in the coming years.
Rather than replacing manual labourers, drones and other robots can help them to complete their work faster and more safely, increasing precision and identifying potential issues with higher-risk work such as welding, demolition, or high-rise inspections.
Digitisation in construction is also favouring programmes that can create virtual versions of building plans, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM)software. Being able to map and adjust designs this way helps to save time and resources, thereby cutting costs and allowing contractors to make more sustainable choices – two things that will also be essential in 2023.
A prime example of using digital technology in the built environment is the concept of smart cities. Also known as digital twins, virtual models are paired with existing cities to integrate them with the Internet of Things (IoT) – meaning that all infrastructure can be monitored digitally.
A smart city collects data about the real city, simulating scenarios and identifying issues, allowing a range of industries to continuously improve their sectors to facilitate positive long-term changes. This technology can help everyone involved in building design and construction with insights into energy consumption, waste management, accessibility, safety, telecommunications, and more.
This will help everything to run more efficiently, ensuring that urban construction projects are successful and sustainable. While this relatively new market is still in its early stages, ReportLinkerestimates that investment in smart cities will grow by $288.7 billion between 2023 and 2027.
The emphasis throughout all of the trends mentioned is utilising innovative technologies and alternative ways of working to improve sustainability and reduce costs in the face of difficult circumstances for the construction industry.
With these trends taking shape throughout 2022 and set to continue over the next several years, it’s likely that construction companies around the world will be looking to invest in these areas to get ahead of rapid industry changes.
One crucial part of constructing new buildings that’s more than a trend is the need for a building warranty. These structural warranties are essential in protecting developers and property buyers against latent structural defects – so whichever trends you might keep track of throughout 2023 and further, always be sure to contact ABC+ for latent defects insurance.
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