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The Top 4 Construction Industry Planning Trends for 2020-2021

‘They don’t make them like they used to’ - these trends are helping construction companies operate smarter, more efficiently, and more responsibly!

Since Biblical times, mankind has been made up of strong and creative builders. From the Tower of Babel and the Egyptian pyramids to the First and Second Temple, and even modern-day Jerusalem’s Meitarim Bridge - the construction industry has produced marvelous feats of brick, concrete, wood, and metal. And truth be told, not much has changed in the centuries since the first foundation was laid and the first hammer struck a nail. The construction industry is one of the slowest growing industries in the world with respect to innovation, sluggish to adopt new tech, tools, and trends.

That being said, those same construction trends that we have grown to know and trust reappear each year with slightly different nuances and a greater inclination towards digital disruption. New trends point to the development and deployment of technologies designed to resolve an ongoing skilled labor shortage and uncertainty surrounding the trading of raw materials and various tariff payments. At present, roughly 60% of construction companies have R&D departments focusing on new technologies, creating unmatched competitive advantages.

Here are four of the most important trends taking the construction planning industry by storm in 2020. We believe that they will continue to help construction companies remain competitive in the coming year as well.

1 - Project support through software

Construction companies are discovering that smart project management tools can help inject significant clarity and reduce complexities involved in all phases of construction projects - from planning to post-construction inspection. The software linked all participants within the project’s ecosystem, letting them know their role in the various tasks remaining to be completed, as well as which tasks have already been taken care of.

With respect to the planning stage of the construction process, project management tools can provide support in the form of to-do lists, task management services, calendars, and milestone documentation. They additionally enable collaboration between team members, through features that mimic social channels: messaging, chats, forums, whiteboards, file sharing/editing, and more. When seeking to adopt this trend, keep in mind that not all project management tools are built alike: some focus on either support or collaboration services, while hybrid solutions integrate some support and collaboration functionalities, enabling greater flexibility while on the job.

2 - A push for greater sustainability

In 2020, building is becoming greener, striving to conserve existing natural resources from as early as the planning stage - and reclaiming as much energy, materials, and costs as possible throughout all other phases of the construction process. In 2021, the concepts of ‘Green Building’ and ‘ecological building’ will push to increase sustainability in the form of minimizing waste even further, potentially pursuing the possibility of planning to adhere as much as possible to ‘zero waste’ principles, in an effort to reduce the industry’s current consumption of roughly 40 percent of the world’s resources. This, of course, must be considered and implemented from the planning stage, with thought given to which materials are selected, how they are to be acquired and transported, how traditional construction material waste can be reclaimed and managed to increase sustainability and environmental friendliness, etc. - throughout the building life cycle. The term circular economy is most relevant in that sense as resources can be retained rather than disposed of. At Swapp, one of the features we are most proud of is our optimization of floor layouts for reuse of building parts. Imagine that instead of demolishing and re-building the space every time there’s change in tenants, the planning software will automatically generate the best scenario for building parts reuse. Tons of construction waste will be prevented as well as the significant reduction of construction costs for both tenants and landlords, Watch here a Swapp visualization of the process.

3 - AI - Technology that promotes efficiency

The digitization of building planning provides significant opportunities for architects, engineers, designers, and, of course, construction companies themselves to increase efficiency throughout every aspect of the construction process. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of several tech innovations trending in 2020 (and likely in 2021 as well). Others include building information modeling (BIM), and blockchain-backed smart contracts.

Artificial intelligence makes construction planning more efficient by engaging in “machine learning.” Software systems collect, analyze, and learn from data for the purpose of automating tasks and eliminating future programming and manual deployment. The more data an AI system is fed, the more accurate its “understanding” of the information and its related tasks will be. Advantages include the prediction of realistic costs, and time constraints, leading to a more precise allocation of resources, increased safety, and closer adherence to timelines and budgets.

4 - Greater reliance on remote teams

One of the major benefits of efficiency-improving technologies is the ability for construction companies to increase their reliance on remote teams and engage in remote project planning and management themselves. In fact, this is one of the most significant construction planning trends for 2020-2021 and a key competitive differentiator future-forward companies should most certainly adopt. Even before the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, remote working was a popular avenue being explored across all industries. And now, it is being implemented in more industries and in more places of work, in an effort to keep people safe and in good health.

But it is also instrumental in enabling contractors to work on multiple job sites in multiple locations at once <insert relevant blog post>. Rising by 292 percent year over year, drones are being used in the construction industry to rapidly and remotely scan and map large areas. The information they glean enables construction companies to plan construction projects faster, based on real-time, actionable data, among other use cases.

Bottom line

While the adoption of trends within the construction industry is generally slow-moving, smart, digital technologies are trending, and are poised to disrupt the planning process - and change it for the better.

At Swapp, we always seek to lead construction industry trends, using our AI-driven software platform to promote greater efficiency, eco-friendliness, safety, support, and flexibility for construction planning in particular, and the construction industry as a whole.

So, which construction industry trends are you planning to adopt in 2020-2021?