Though we're only just over two weeks out of 2018, it's probably safe to say we've all left 2018 far behind us and have been taking some time to feel out the new year to see what we can expect from 2019. That's exactly what Construction Dive's been doing regarding commercial construction. We are pretty excited about their predictions for this year's trends, so we highlighted a handful of our favorite ones just for you.
We know, we know. For some people, this is a touchy subject, but it's a trend that could benefit construction servicers AND consumers. Though robotic technology is outstanding in 2019, we aren't looking at an apocolyptic stage where all workers will be replaced by AIs. In fact, the Midwest Economic Policy Institute predicts that automation won't displace up to 2.7 million construction workers until 2057 and reassured Construction Dive that there will still be a need for human labor as long as 100% of the task can't be automated. (37 years still too close for comfort?) In 2019, however, robots are being used to supplement construction workers, assisting with redundant, physically-straining work and increasing production speed.
So how is this beneficial for everyone? Well, for construction servicers, the addition of robotics to the field reduces some of the strain and risk our workers experience. Additionally, an increase in production speed means faster delivery to anxious clients, more projects, and less grueling project timelines. For consumers, the less time they're put out by construction the better, and some level of automated production would definitely speed up the time spent on a project.
It's no surprise that our economy is still experiencing hills and valleys, still stuck in the recovery of the Great Recession. In fact, some analysts are calling for another downturn in 2019 or 2020. The construction industry is already second to last in efficiency and productivity across U.S. sectors according to a McKinsey & Co. report, so it's incredibly important to work out solutions as a result and in anticipation of such economic strains.
Considering the wavering economy, the industry is trending towards a 'leaner' production style. Contractors are adjusting seemingly small elements of productivity in order to save time and money going forward, such as eliminating any excess materials being delivered to a job site and any overlap in job responsibilities. In essence, contractors, project managers, supervisors, and the like are looking to cut out waste and focus on efficiency from project plan to project end, which will not only benefit their own companies and projects, but the industry as a whole as well.
There was no shortage of drone usage in the construction industry in 2018. In fact, DroneDeploy reported that the construction industry is the fastest growing for drone usage of any sector. Taking drones way farther than a cost-effective device for aerial photography, the construction industry uses drones and specialized software to do things like map a given area, analyze volumetrics, and translate thermal energy. When the drone collects data—sometimes even data that a human couldn't collect or analyze themselves—it is run through the software and analyzed, eliminating elements of human error and inability. If that isn't already impressive enough, it's likely the the capabilities of drones will continue to expand, making them a vital tool for the industry.
That's right. Forget the days of constantly analyzing Millenials and how to reach/deal with them. Their successors, Generation Z, are now of professional age, the oldest of which are around 23-24 years old. While Millenials witnessed the internet boom and the economic crashes of 2000 and 2008, all of which formed their desire and need to fully and widely prepare themselves for a limited job market, Generation Z have watched Millenials navigate this slippery slope that has resulted in a $42,000 average of student debt, as well as their Generation X parents—many of which are entreprenuers—and are coming into the professional world with a different perspective and set of ideals. Construction Dive predicts that Generation Z will be more likely to seek out earn-as-you-learn programs for career advancement in fear of hefty student debt, making the construction industry a rather appealing one to them. Additionally, it's most likely that Gen Z will help the industry continue to innovate, as well-developed technology is all that they've ever known.
It seems like innovation and technology is what 2019 is all about for the construction industry. Keep an eye on Magellan Construction to see what trends we adopt this year as we continue to innovate and provide excellent service across the country.