2020 Hasn’t been the greatest year for anybody. With the coronavirus number surging all across the US, the economy is expected to shrink over the coming months. But 2021 probably isn’t going to be all bad. In fact, construction is ready to come back with a vengeance. With a COVID vaccine on the horizon, a lot of people are expecting for life to get back to something close to normal over 2021. Despite a market downturn, defaults and bankruptcies are up, but not to the heights predicted. Commercial real estate has proven to be remarkably resilient. 2021 Seems to have some exciting things in stock, and at Reliable Commercial, we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Safety will be a top priority
Safety was already one of our top priorities on construction sites. Now, thanks to the pandemic, we are viewing it in a new light. Wearing masks and maintaining distance isn’t a big issue in day to day life, but it can be complicated on a worksite. Here’s a list what construction contractors will do in 2021.
- Stagger employees at job sites to prevent overcrowding.
- Employ more tools, as tool sharing probably won’t be a possibility for at least another 7 months when the vaccines are fully rolled out.
- Smaller work crews will be employed.
- Use of personal PPE.
Green construction comes in many forms, as we have mentioned before. The crux of green construction is one main point: using less resources. The less resources used in building, the smaller the environmental impact. If a building uses fewer resources over its lifetime, the smaller the environmental impact. There are quite a few ways of using less resources, and they are not only beneficial to the Earth, but often cheaper and more efficient.
Prefabrication is the construction of building parts lets unused parts be recycled in that same factory. On a job site, unused building parts might otherwise wind up in a landfill.
Photovoltaic cells in windows, and solar panels on roofs are two examples. Buildings that can harvest their own energy from nature don’t need to spend as much on power, and thus use less grid electricity. As solar and wind energy become cheaper and easier to make, expect them to become more financially viable options for building power. This trend will no doubt continue far past 2021.
Whether it’s lighting, appliances, or anything else using electricity, efficiency is key. Using less power, natural gas, oil, and other resources saves money and is a clear benefit to the environment. Lights are a main power draw for any building. So we can expect to see much more efficient lighting, such as LEDs or natural solar for indoor lighting.
Living construction materials
This sounds like a weird one, and it is. However, scientists have created living concrete that can repair itself. The concrete mixture has cyanobacteria, a microorganism that uses photosynthesis to process sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce calcium carbonate, which forms the aggregate of the concrete. Not only can the concrete self-heal, small chunks of it can be grown into new generations of concrete. So, a little goes a long way. Finally, it sucks up carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that the industrial world vastly overproduces.
Another living building material is mycelium. Mycelium is another name for typically microscopic colonies of fungus that weave together and form megacolonies. But most people know mycelium for their fruiting bodies — mushrooms. Mycelium composite is already used by some companies as a packing material. The benefits of fungal building is that it can recycle waste into the food the fungi feed on in order to “build.” They are being considered as a replacement for foam, timber, and other materials. Mycelium is particularly good at insulation and fire safety. Read more about mycelium building materials here.
Remote, remote, remote
The 2020 COVID pandemic has taught us that remote work is possible for a great many in the population. Construction is included (to a certain degree). Drones are being used in just about every worksite because they can simply get places that people can’t, and they can do it fast. Important information is provided by top-down views. Things like maps, materials assessment, danger assessment, and more are all easily achievable thanks to drone technology.
3-D Printing has been a quickly maturing industry over the last few years. From dentistry, to custom parts for electronics, to construction, it’s everywhere. 3-D printing has some fantastic benefits in the coronavirus era as well.
- 3-D printed buildings use fewer people to build.
- 3-D printed buildings are cheaper (running at about 10,000 dollars for a house).
- 3-D printed buildings are cheaper because they use far fewer resources. There is significantly less waste than with traditional construction.
Unfortunately, most 3-D printed houses are conceptual…for now. There are projects to build 3-D printed, livable neighborhoods, and they are being built for families living on only a few dollars a day.
VR and AR
With the rise VR technology, virtual reality tours have become a thing of the present. Especially in pandemic times, it’s great that someone can do a virtual walk-through of a house from anywhere in the world.
AR stands for augmented reality, and it is used similarly to VR. Stakeholders can go to a work site and use AR to see what the finished product will look like. AR can also be used to look at building possibilities so owners can choose the end product they like.
Say goodbye to 2020 and here’s to a better 2021
Reliable Commercial is here for you through thick and thin. We’ve weathered the pandemic all while keeping our standards high and work steady. If you want a forward thinking, experienced commercial contractor, look no further. We are happy to help with any 2021 building needs you may have. Have any other questions about the future of construction? Maybe have a construction job you’ve been putting off? Contact us today.