This year has brought growth across the commercial construction industry, including some bigger picture decisions by governing bodies that will show their impact financially and regionally in 2020. These investments in both rehabilitation and innovation will transform the construction process in the coming year, driving changes that could affect the industry well into the future if the technology and project types meet performance expectations.
“Many of the new trends affecting our industry emphasize collaboration, increasing communication about projects to help ensure better outcomes,” explains Jim Gallagher, Principal of Resolution Management Consultants. “Our work with clients has always prioritized stronger planning and preparation, and it’s encouraging that the advances we see gaining momentum can go a long way in achieving the goal of on-time and on-budget completion and reducing the risk of litigation.”
Gallagher expects the following trends and topics to have the greatest impact on commercial construction projects in 2020:
Investing in Infrastructure – With $287b in treasury bills allocating funds for infrastructure, the construction industry can expect a push from all sides to compete for those contracts. Either way, such a sizable investment is sure to continue spurring growth.
Developing Smart Cities – Technology has been transforming most industries, but sensors and data analytics are transforming our cities too. Smart cities are connecting people and information, as well as driving new construction to keep up with the required infrastructure.
Refining Project Delivery Systems – Many factors impact project delivery, but the systems being used to delineate and allocate responsibility between the parties may be determinative in whether disputes and delays sidetrack a project or derail it. Design-Build agreements may have the benefit of streamlining negotiations, responsibility and problem-solving, creating the potential for a stronger culture of collaboration and fewer project delivery issues.
Incorporating Technology – Though the construction industry has long been resistant to technological changes on site, the latest generation of hard- and software is beginning to transform how parties view construction projects. 2020 will bring increases in sensors, drones, BIM, etc. because they are providing greater access to information that may minimize mistakes and provide faster response time to issues that may arise.
Renewing Port Activity & Shipbuilding – Most American ports were built in the mid-20th century, with many facilities showing increasing wear. The requirements to meet increasing global shipping needs and orders for US Naval vessels may renew a long-dormant marine construction industry.