Usually, lists of 2019 construction trends contain extremely broad topics that, frankly, have been "trends" in the construction industry for years now. That's why we wrote a new eBook designed for PMs, superintendents, and foremen to outline the construction industry trends for 2019 that matter most to them. That means we took the time to explore which new technologies, techniques, and ideas are shaping the future of construction out where it really happens: in the field.
A List of 2019 Construction Trends
Such a list usually goes something like this (we'll list it all out for you here so you don't have to go looking at a bunch of different "new trends in construction technology" sites):
Growth Sectors: Transportation, public safety, and conservation/development are way up in the last quarter of 2018, and will pick up steam in 2019.
Sustainability: It's on everyone's mind, so expect more advancements in sustainable materials and techniques.
Rising Material Costs: It rose in 2017, 2018, and it's looking to do the same thing in 2019, so find ways to cut costs.
Pre-Fab/Modular/Offsite Construction: As materials get more expensive it'll be more common to assemble or even 3D print structures in pieces offsite, which will turn the construction site into an assembly area.
Labor Shortage: There's no end in sight for this one, and by now we're all aware of it.
New Safety Tools: Apps, wearables, and more to make one of the more dangerous jobs around safer.
The problem here isn't that this information is useless: it isn't. It's just too broad to be usable by anyone out there doing the work. Their questions aren't about growth sectors or changing the entire way that a construction site operates. They are likely wondering what they need to do to not be left behind by their competitors? Or what are the best new technologies and techniques to make a superintendent or project manager stand out in 2019?
Top Construction Industry Trend 2019: Field Visibility
The visibility we're talking about are the events that happen throughout the course of a normal day on any jobsite. Deliveries come and go, subcontractors check in and out, different crews work on separate scopes, RFIs and change orders come in, safety inspectors make their rounds. It's the normal operations of a jobsite.
Why should anyone care about all that? It's simply a matter of clear communication. The PMs in the office need to know because they manage multiple sites remotely and keep it all coordinated. Owners and executives want to know the big picture (project progress, delays etc...). More importantly, knowing this stuff can help save your business time and money by spotting the biggest inefficiencies over time.
Unfortunately, getting that information is still a tremendous hassle: for superintendents and foremen it means an hour a day at the end of their day sitting in a trailer or in their truck trying to remember everything that happened that day so they can write it down on a piece of paper that then may or may not get scanned and sent back to the office.
That's why we saw the biggest construction industry trend in 2019 coming in the form of tools that automate field data collection- in essence, the important events on the site are captured automatically and the superintendent can get back to managing the site instead of filling out paperwork. And in those areas where the human touch is still required, new tools that shave the time of that job down from hours to minutes are getting better and better.
Here are some of the tools we spotted that should make a big change in construction field data reporting in 2019. For the complete list, be sure to download the free eBook.
Artificial Intelligence Video for Construction
Many modern construction sites have video surveillance installed to keep an eye on things- but it could be doing so much more. With modern artificial intelligence that hooks right into the cameras larger sites already have installed, the software analyzes video feeds in real time, learning as it goes which vehicles are what. These programs are so advanced they can tell how many times that excavator had to go back and forth to fill up the hauling truck or note the exact moment that the concrete arrived on site. And it turns all of this into a report you can use to improve efficiency on site- and it does it all automatically.
Wearable Construction Safety Devices
They are small, light, and extremely useful: wearable devices for construction stream plenty of useful data back to the office or your reports. They clock when someone arrived on site, know where everyone is while they're at work, and will automatically notify supervisors in the event of a fall with the exact person, location, and distance of the fall.
In addition to keeping track of your people, inexpensive devices for heavy equipment are cropping up that work in tandem with the people monitors to ensure that only qualified people are operating them. For our top pick of the wearables market, be sure to download the eBook.
Remote Asset Management
New construction technologies in 2019 can clip right onto the bottom of your tools, with features that give Inventory Managers the information they need to track equipment across job sites. You can physically see the location of any tool you attach it to along with other information like battery percentage, temperature, and you even have the option to shut the tool down if it leaves the site.
Streamlined Field Reporting
Each of the tools that we've listed above automates field data collection: you just turn them on and they do their thing automatically, sending the information right to the office or compiling it into a report. But at the end of the day there will always be a call for the superintendent or foreman to sign off on who was on site, and the work they did that day.
Luckily, there are new construction trends in 2019 that streamline field reporting, turning a construction daily report workflow that used to be an hour in the trailer at the end of the day to a couple of minutes as you walk the site.
Construction Business Intelligence 2019
The last 2019 construction trend we saw coming deals with what you do with the data you collected in the field. It's a simple principle: as field data becomes easier to collect, there will be more of it. More data means more information to sift through looking for that nugget of knowledge that can actually improve the business.
That's where a new wave of integrations come into play. Integration is key in the construction technology space: enterprise all-in-ones like Bluebeam and Procore integrate with hundreds of point solution apps, but the next wave of change will be integration with data visualization tools so anyone can analyze the data coming from the field.
Construction Trends 2019: Looking Ahead.
Ultimately, we picked field data collection as our 2019 construction trend because not only is it at the forefront of construction tech but it is imminently valuable and far more likely to have a real impact on a company's bottom line than switching to a modular construction process. Automating field data collection is relatively inexpensive and easy to do when compared with some of the other, more "traditional" trends we listed earlier: pick one or two of the tools or techniques on this list and see what it does for you. We've seen these tools do incredible things for forward-thinking construction firms in 2018, and we expect more of the same in 2019.