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2021 Construction Trends to Watch

August 4, 2021

Filed Under: Industry Trends

The construction industry has experienced significant changes in the past year, and is expected to continue to grow and change throughout 2021. The qualified team at Gray & Son works to stay ahead of emerging construction trends to make sure our clients get the absolute best services in the industry. From new and emerging technologies and equipment, to increased interests in sustainability and employee wellness and protection, here are some of the top construction trends to watch. 

Physical Support Technology for Laborers

Many companies in the industry have begun researching and employing exoskeletons, a newer form of equipment that can lessen the physical strain that workers experience from long hours on the job. This technology allows for more protection and orthopedic support than traditional simple heavy-duty gloves, gear and equipment. The use of exoskeletons in construction may also help laborers perform more strenuous tasks for longer periods of time, as they can offer a strength amplification of 20 to 1, effectively making heavier objects feel significantly lighter. 

Artificial Intelligence to Support Crews

While not a new technology in 2021, robotics are now being used to increase precision, efficiency and effectiveness in many industries, including construction. While they cannot replace manual skilled labor, robots on the jobsite can provide physical support and complete layout tasks, helping projects stay on schedule and reduce operating costs and waste. There is also a lot of potential for construction companies to employ or expand the use of “cobots,” or collaborative robots. These are meant to work as supplements to crews on site, having the mobility and ability to work one-on-one with humans.

Improved Safety Gear for Female Workers

Laborers are the foundation of the construction industry, so it is essential that firms pay close attention to developments that makes the job safer, easier and more efficient for everyone on the job. As women continue to break through into a traditionally male-dominated industry, it has become more apparent that conventionally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets and safety vests were designed and made for the intended use of male laborers. Sizing adjustments can be made to accommodate women laborers,  but the differences in the build and fit of the equipment can prevent adequate safe coverage for females on the jobsite. Several PPE brands around the world have begun focusing more specifically on adding additional sizing, styles and features to safety equipment, such as new safety vests and waistcoats, to make it more suitable for women in the industry. 

Mental Health and Wellness 

Covid-19 also helped those within the industry to identify gaps in gear and processes that pose risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of construction crews. But, increased use of masks and gloves are not the only updates. The industry is seeing a shift in attention to training and programs that focus on prevention of not only Covid-19, but worksite incidents potentially caused by the psychological and emotional stressors related to the virus. Many have now implemented more avenues for employee outreach, communication and support in an effort to alleviate mental and emotional strain that can pose significant risk of project disruption, and more importantly injury, on the worksite. 

Reliance on Used and Leased Equipment

Construction companies looking to remain competitive with the latest equipment while preserving their budgets are now relying more heavily on used and rented equipment. The opportunity to do so provides companies a lower price point, but also the ability to test new technology and capabilities to assess its use and benefit before making a large capital investment. While buying used and leasing equipment is not a new trend in the industry, the availability of renting emerging construction technologies continues to grow, allowing more opportunity for smaller companies or those on tighter budgets to utilize the latest and greatest equipment for projects. 

Materials Development Technology

3D printing has gained traction as a go to solution in the industry. The method of materials development is both faster and cheaper than other conventional manufacturing techniques, and provides creative alternatives to traditional and less customizable materials. Some development companies are taking 3D printing capabilities to the next level by printing off life-size buildings and homes — something that not only offers solutions to widespread issues with housing availability, but can provide construction companies with the ability to cut cost of materials and project timelines for clients. It is anticipated that 3D printing technology will expand significantly this year and in years to come, even to the level of printing concrete structures and materials ready for use. 

Eco-Friendly Materials

Companies in the industry have experienced an increased demand from clients to become more eco-friendly and incorporate sustainable elements into their projects. 2020 and 2021 saw the incorporation of “K-Briq,” a new kind of brick that is composed from 90% recycled materials from construction waste, and an increase in the reliance on mass timber, a wood used for structure that naturally captures carbon. Both materials allow for companies to incorporate eco-friendly and sustainable elements into their work, benefiting both the client and the environment. 

Consult with the Experienced Team at Gray & Son for Your Next Project

At Gray & Son, we are determined to provide our clients with the best services possible, all while following the emerging trends in the construction industry to keep our projects ahead of the curve and provide you with the results you desire, catered to your project’s specific needs. To learn more about our team and how we can serve you on your next project, contact us today!