This is the first of a major series of articles looking at change in construction, both in the last few years and as it’s forecast to come in the future.
I began by Googling “what’s new in construction?” This produced a wide range of different articles, usually under titles such as “Top 8/9/10 construction trends for 2017/18/19.” I looked at half a dozen of these and, unsurprisingly, there was a lot of unanimity between them. Subjects such as “modular construction,” “sustainability” and “Internet of things” cropped up often. To find out what topics were the most common, I cut and pasted each heading into a spreadsheet and, voila!
While it’s important to acknowledge this is not a robust study, simply a snapshot, it was interesting to see that the most frequently cited future trends were “Green design/ construction,” “Modular buildings/construction” and “Internet of Things,” which were all mentioned four times each.
“Drones,” “BIM,” “Design/build collaboration,” “Government/uncertainty” and “VR/AR” were the next most commonly featured (all mentioned three times), followed by “Sustainability” and “Robotics” which appeared twice each.
There was then a long tail of different subjects, from “better safety equipment” to “3D printing” and, my personal favourite (simply because it’s an interesting subject) – exoskeletons.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll look at a number of these in more detail and I’d be interested in anyone’s thoughts. Do we ignore all these developments and just let them slowly creep up/wash over us, or should we proactively try to adapt our work – as employers and recruiters - to ensure we are not left behind? Technology, in particular, has the power to transform the ways in which the property/construction (jobs) market works, driving up productivity and reducing costs, but with an increasing human cost due to technological unemployment.
All of which leads me to the final trend that I think we’ll see over the next few years, which wasn’t mentioned in any of the articles I Googled. This is that debates about the ways we humans work, the possibility of four-day weeks, taxes on robots and other ideas to allow construction (and all other industries) to adapt and survive will become increasingly common.
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment
PS – next week I’ll look at some of the most interesting trends and forecasts of change, with a particular emphasis on Green Design.