Top 8 Construction Trends in 2018

Construction site
••• Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Builders and contractors want to keep up with the latest construction industry trends so that they can stay ahead of the competition. Here are a few trends that could affect how you conduct business in 2018.

Green Design

Every construction project is expected to increase their participation through green design, sustainable products and aiming towards the LEED certification. This trend, which started some years ago, will continue to rise and every year must be more important to builders and contractors. Recycling, reusing and rethinking our approach to common daily activities is a must for builders. Remember this is also an opportunity to advertise or showcase your business. More legislation and laws should increase the green building trend for the upcoming years, especially in 2018.

Modular Buildings

It seems like in the last few years modular buildings, houses and even pack-your-own-home has been gaining more followers and fans in the real estate and construction industry. The world is changing and as you can see younger professionals and millennials are always constantly to change things around and move from one place to another. The demand for homes and buildings is increasing, but not necessarily in the unoccupied metro areas, we are talking about remote places, suburbs and more in harmony with nature.

Modular Homes offer the advantages of being developed off-site reducing the impact to the original landscape, being more efficient, reducing the risk of incidents and providing a faster way of developing residential areas. Modular construction offers you the ability to start working off-site while all the permits are being secured and under a controlled scenario. They are cheaper to build, as the crew already know what to do and how to assemble it, and build times are shorter. Some builders are offering the option of getting your house on a semi with the option to move it around from city to city as you move to different places.

Modular buildings are also on the list due to significant safety and time advantages. In New York, we have the 461 Dean, a 32-story building that is one of the world's tallest modular buildings.


Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are here to stay and have been one of the hottest trends for the last two or three years. Drones can access remote locations, are equipped with cameras, can collect data, complete safety inspections, capture project progress and so much more. Surveyors use them to create 3d mapping or images that later can be used to depict an area. Drones are one of the most important construction industry trends in 2018 and there is so much more to come. Remember, to make sure you are in compliance with FAA rules and regulations.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

There is one single tool that can increase effectiveness and collaboration like no other tool: BIM. BIM is now part of the regular scope of work for many RFPs and government agencies that like to know beforehand the issues and construction projects that they will face. BIM not only increases collaboration, it reduces construction costs, and promotes a safer building process that will result in faster construction and minimize safety incidents. BIM will soon be part of the construction and building codes, much faster than what you would think, and since BIM is now a 6D approach, it is being used for almost all type of construction projects.

If you are not BIM-ready, try to get a sub-contractor that can become your BIM expert.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Smartphones, GPS, Cloud, SaaS — everything is about the internet and data moving across the web. Seems like contractors and builders need to be connected to keep up with fast-moving construction industry trends. However, being active online is not about adding or following more things. It is about how we can increase productivity with the tools we already have. Collaboration, sharing, photos, docs, data, logistics, inventory, time tracking, vehicle remote and tool detection are among the things builders use the most, and that technology will only get smarter.

Using VR gadgets you can simulate a project, showcasing it for your customers, before a tool is delivered to the site. Everything is now connected online, and our projects have been digitalized in such a way that paper is almost no longer needed. More powerful smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices will improve communication.

Labor and Government Implications

Skilled labor shortages have been quite a problem recently with the amount of construction going on. Finding skilled workers is really a challenging situation that could get worse once the immigration changes go into effect, affecting many projects nationwide and requiring a different thought process to get skilled labor during the next years. Builders need to focus on developing existing talent, equip them with the right knowledge and tools to succeed. Training and development must be part of every construction company, and careful planning is another important thing to do.

Rent-a-worker might soon be a trend, so be on the lookout to keep your business going.

Design-Build and Collaboration

With schedules being so tight, builders and contractors are always looking to cut down time and propose aggressive schedules that are sometimes not realistic. However, 2018 might be a great year for you to embrace the design-build process or use IPD as tools that will solve your schedule delays and help you plan better. These tools are not new, but they are amongst the construction industry trends for 2018 as owners will ask for earlier completion dates to maximize their business operations. Collaboration and communication are key aspects of these two options, so make sure the communication plan is shared with all key players.

Cost, Funding, and Finances

More than 10 years ago, construction and companies were doing business everywhere and risk for us in the construction business was minimal. Lending institutions and finance manager were more receptive and willing to accept risks than now, but the game has changed. The construction trend for 2018 is to look for P3s or Private-Public Partnerships as a way to obtain financing approval and complete projects that otherwise would be impossible. Material costs are high and they are not expected to come down, so your supply team must be aware and act fast to secure good prices with your vendors.

A smart and effective purchasing team is key to lowering costs for your projects and builders are bundling work with other contractors to obtain better pricing in materials. Be sure to keep your costs down during 2018 as prices will likely go up.