The Indian construction industry is expected to grow by 11.6% in 2021.
Different industries and markets will undoubtedly follow different paths in the future, often at varying speeds; but there will be the common denominator – all businesses will find themselves in a radically more digitalised and connected world.
Even within the real estate and infrastructure industry, while the nature and pace of change will differ amongst different players, yet all of them will be affected by the need to connect and scale, leveraging digital tools and methods.
The real estate construction industry is already witnessing many changes. The ever-increasing customer sophistication, increasing emphasis on the total cost of ownership instead of initial investment alone, updated regulations for safety and sustainability, standardisation of building codes, and digitalisation of marketing processes are just a few disruptions that the industry is currently witnessing.
Here are five key trends that we think will define the construction industry this year.
A modular, factory-based approach to construction
As real estate developers push for cost rationalisation, construction companies will in turn focus on modular designs and prefabricated structures – which make construction appear more like a factory assembly line than an artisanal workshop.
For end-users, the benefits will be obvious – factory-like construction will mean tighter supervision and control over deviations, resulting in superior and more standardised quality of construction at a lower price. And with material prices in flux and a labour market that is continuing to tighten, the transition towards off-site, factory-style fabrication and construction will be a lucrative way for the developers and contractors to cut costs, improve productivity and shorten their project timelines.
The future of construction lies in digital tools that enhance every aspect of the construction workflow.
From BIM to automated prefabrication in off-site ‘factories’, and from Augmented Reality (AR) to robotics or drone-powered scanning technology, a variety of new technology-enabled tools will help construction companies improve their efficiency, and collaboration, leading to higher productivity and enhanced quality for the end-users.
Safety and regulation
Safety trends in construction are utilising similar technology advancements that we are experiencing in our personal lives, such as fitness trackers (wearable tech). Items like wearables and work boots available for the construction workers today connect to Wi-Fi and send GPS coordinates to supervisors, alerting them if workers have not taken mandatory breaks or are too tired.
While these technologies might take time to be commonly used in countries like India, other advancements such as moisture-wicking fabric and cooling vests are already widely available that help to keep construction workers safe and comfortable.
The issue of climate change continues to be a major point of reflection within the industry. Real estate companies and customers alike need to consider the environmental impact of building their dream houses or apartments: from materials sourcing, manufacturing, and supply chains, as well as environmental resilience.
We foresee more customers to prefer projects that are deemed environment-friendly right from the construction stage and even feature smart or IOT-enabled lighting, water and gas connections to minimise wastage.
Dip in new commercial projects
Uncertainty about the future will potentially continue to impact commercial, non-housing sector in 2021. 2020 has already seen a significant drop in the announcement of new commercial projects, on account of a widespread shift to work-from-home routines.
This trend will only continue throughout 2021, however, we will likely see growth in residential projects as a counterbalance. The reasons are intuitive enough: investment in large and expensive buildings for new offices or hotels; two of the largest components of commercial projects market; are tough to make in an environment where the future of the two industries they represent is difficult to predict.
The year 2020 may have permanently changed the world. As a recent McKinsey report pointed out, “A refusal to adapt to this upheaval will only worsen performance while developing new business and operating models could allow companies to generate more value and profit,” the Indian real estate and construction industry players not only need to take heed of the evolving trends but also need to identify and develop a road map best suited for them to adjust to the new normal.
This article is contributed by Paul Wallett, Regional Director, Middle East and India, Trimble Solutions.
(The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of RoofandFloor)