As the world changes, so follows business. And as the population, economy, and technology change, businesses need to find new sites to build on in order to keep their competitive advantage. 

There are many trends today in commercial construction that are revolutionary. Robots, drones, smart buildings, and much more are all radically changing how construction works.

But, how do these changes affect where the construction happens? What are the new trends affecting where new commercial buildings are built?

Read on for a list of commercial construction location trends and how they affect commercial property purchases.


Technology as the Main Driver of Change


Technology is the main driving force of change in the late 20th and the 21st centuries. In just a few years, information has been turned on its head by the digital age. Now employment is being forever changed by robotics and automation. If there is one factor that is the force of change now in commercial building and building sites, it is technology. Technology has produced two general commercial trends: moving back to cities, and decreasing the importance of building site location.


Technology Opens Many Options for Commercial Construction Sites


Drones, Robotics, and Automation

Drones in construction have myriad uses, and are better and faster in many ways than human workers. A drone can fly up and down the outside of a tall building in minutes to inspect the building’s fixtures. This same thing would have taken a human with special training, a harness and ropes, and with risk of life, hours or days. Robots can provide services as well; brick laying and rebar tying robots can do in hours what would take humans days. These technologies mean that there is less need for skilled, hard-to-find workers. Not only can work be automated, it can be done faster and more efficiently.

Where construction sites are located is less important now, too. Rather than waiting on skilled laborers to be brought in for inspection, an easily-piloted drone can do it in minutes. This change creates far more options for building site locations.


Virtual and Augmented Reality


AR and VR also have freeing effects on where buildings can be built. No longer does a building have to be constructed where it is accessible for investors, managers, and tenants. Now, a building built anywhere can be toured through VR. An investor in Denver can visit buildings in Miami, Washington, and Dallas in the span of a few hours with a VR headset. 


Prefab Construction


With material prices changing and a tightening labor market, off-site pre-construction is helping companies in a big way. Costs are cut, timelines shortened, and work is more efficient. By building prefabs in a location off-site safety is increased on-site. Prefabricated constructions also allow commercial sites more freedom of location. Sites are no longer as limited by where they can get materials and shipping costs. Sites also don’t need to rely on skilled local workers who can build what could be made remotely.


A Return to Urban Sites


Various factors have shifted commercial sites back to urban centers and away from the suburbs. Suburbs were once the mainstay of commercial development. They are cheap, have a lot of space, and often have fewer zoning laws than cities. This made them great places to get a return on investment. New trends such as smart buildings, infrastructure investment, and green/eco-building have pushed cities back into the forefront. 


Eco friendly Buildings and Companies


In a push to be more green, many companies would rather renovate existing buildings than build new ones. This means that urban centers are ripe for investment. Older buildings can be rebuilt or renovated. This doesn’t destroy natural land, and conserves already-used resources. 

Urban areas can be redesigned, with green space on their roofs, solar cells, or with more or better resource use. This improves the existing infrastructure and makes cities as a whole more livable.

Lean building—building with as little waste as possible—is another push towards reusing urban spaces.


Smart Buildings


Smart buildings use sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) to better manage resources. They can adjust heating, lights, internet bandwidth, and much more automatically by reading usage trends. Smart buildings also trigger smart communities. Here, interconnected buildings share data to make more efficient and well-designed spaces. These smart communities are usually built as urban areas as they need to be close-knit to connect different businesses, housing, and public spaces. Read about current smart city projects here.


Current Events


COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Not only has construction spending decreased in 2020, but it is difficult to predict when this reduction will let up. However, it is safe to say that most of the negative changes due to COVID-19 are not here to stay. There will also be some positive changes in the industry, thanks to new innovations and developments necessary for working from home and supply chain disruption. Read more about the effects of COVID-19 on the construction industry here, and get up-to-date info about closures and openings here.


For Help in Uncertain Times


If you are curious about whether your business needs to build new, renovate, redesign, remodel, or something else, contact Reliable Commercial. We are a professional contractor who can help you get the best construction service for your money. Reliable Commercial can also offer help and advice about current events and construction.


Specific Commercial Site Trends


  • E-commerce has increased demand for cold storage. As more people buy food online, more companies have had to purchase cold storage for storing food deliveries. Also, more e-commerce means that the companies selling online need to have diverse real-estate portfolios. This way, they have more delivery and distribution speed and capability.
  • Medical retail is a fast growing market. Spaces need to be centered in places with lots of homes and easily accessible. This market is largely for the aging baby boomer population’s developing medical needs.
  • Coworking and remote work is causing a decline in small office purchases. As more people work remotely thanks to technology, the demand for traditional offices is going down.
  • Construction costs are rising thanks to existing labor shortages, and changing costs of materials. This means that updating existing locations is starting to become more popular than building new.
  • For a full list of specific commercial trends in building and buying, look here.