3 mega trends making their mark on construction

12 July 2017 Kingspan Group
Mega trend
Mega trends are patterns or movements that have a big impact on business and society as a whole. 51397
 
In this post we shed some light on major mega trends and examine how these may impact the construction landscape now and in the future.
 

1. Economics - A global market place

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The global economy is predicted to grow by just over 3% per annum 2016-2050, double in size by 2037 and almost triple by 2050. Power is shifting towards Asia and a group of fast-growing, emerging economies called the E7 (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey), resulting in a whole new group of middle class, global citizens with higher aspirations and greater spending power. Urbanisation is leading to economically rich mega cities and regions. The war for talent is increasingly fierce and as a global marketplace becomes firmly established there’ll be a growing need for linked financial systems, policy co-ordination and strong supply chains for those operating in this environment.

Impact on the Construction Industry?

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Consolidation of suppliers and contractors, more regulation, more creative financing of projects and the need for flexibility are all facets of the changing face of the global construction sector. Investment also continues into digital, integrated project management systems all geared to maximise efficiencies, lead times, site safety and overall predictability of scheme delivery. Shortage of skilled labour will continue to plague construction companies – a significant number left during the recession and have not returned. As companies struggle to staff sites and schedules shorten, many are turning to prefabricated, off-site construction methods thus reducing waste, increasing predictability and offering potential costs savings.

2. Technology - The biggest disruptive force

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Rapid technological progress is one of the biggest disrupting forces in our world today. The time it takes from breakthrough technology to mass-market application is collapsing. Computers are becoming faster, smaller and universal. Medical breakthroughs are prolonging and enhancing lives. Declining PC use and increasing mobile device adoption are driving a ‘mobile first’ world. Drones, robotics, big data, the cloud and 3D printing are all having an increasing impact on our lives while the rate of change is forcing individuals, societies, business leaders and governments to adapt to the emerging risks and opportunities.

Impact on the Construction Industry

BIM

Although BIM has dominated tech conversations in the construction sector, experts point to laser scanning, as an emerging technology that will impact. 3D laser-scanners can create a digital reproduction of the dimensions and positions of objects in a certain space and then turn the information into a point cloud image. Mobile apps with geo-fencing will boom. With so many contractors relying on time-tracking software, geo-fencing will help site managers better manage supplier payments and their payroll. Wearable technology has leapt off the running track and into construction gear of all sorts – the Smart Hardhat, safer safety vests, and more are driving up site safety and efficiencies. While VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) visors are still rare sights on site, architects are finding uses for the headsets in the design phase.

3. Environment – The growth of SMART cities

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As the population increases and becomes more urbanised and prosperous, demand for energy, food and water is rising. The strain on scarce resources is compounded by the detrimental impact this is having on our climate. This is driving businesses to adapt and innovate in order to benefit from the shifting supply environment. The SMART city market will be worth $1.5tn by 2020. Society, governments and businesses must work together to develop more sustainable approaches to achieve economic growth with new legislation, collective responsibilities across nations and heightened consumer awareness of the issues continuing to influence and impact progress.

Impact on the Construction Industry

More commercial contracts will be focused on sustainability. This is being driven by increasing legislation, government mandates for green buildings, calls for the use of renewable power and design innovation, and fueled by suppliers and buyers with a corporate, eco-social conscience. McGraw Hill Construction suggests that 48% of all new nonresidential construction projects will be green; a $145bn opportunity for construction firms. While green planning and design is easiest to implement for new construction, it is the retrofit and refurbishment of existing buildings (4.6m in the UK alone) that is presents both challenge and opportunity.

You can read more about mega trends and the impact on construction here. 

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