It's been a whirlwind of a year, from the unpredictable to the unprecedented. COVID-19 affected our business for several months at the beginning of the year. Our existing clients were our priority. We had to ensure none of our clients got affected by the disease while we were at the job site and with the right implementation of safety protocols, we were able to ensure the safety of our clients as well as our employees.
When I look back now, I feel it was okay to slow down as I got more time to pause and re-consider the business goals and notice how 2020 fast-forwarded our business several years ahead in time. We were able to adjust and automate processes that we predicted to take place in the future.
For the residential construction industry, trends like giving customers the utmost importance by providing them information and building a trustworthy relationship, meeting virtually, requirements for social distancing, and isolating work stations spelled change at every level. I see some trends gaining more momentum and continuing strong this year and some to change. The 2021 radar includes Innovation in Construction, change in the way customers are served, transparency in providing estimates, automation using adept technologies, and much more.
Using consumer and market intelligence to provide insights, I will be talking about the top 6 predictions and trends we see on the horizon for 2021:
1. Remote technology
"Remote" was one of the most used terms in 2020, and anything that promises that a task can be completed remotely is going to increase. This is true for tasks ranging from building and renovating to administrative duties.
Remote technology will play a vital role in this industry. Our company was majorly dependent on in-person visits, and 2020 changed it to more virtual. We inculcated relevant technologies to help homeowners get all the required information ahead of time, track their projects in real-time, and meet with their project managers virtually to communicate their concerns and provide feedback openly. It was essential to act quickly and embrace this change. Customers will meet contractors virtually. Success will depend on how the contractor inculcates technology that is easier for the customer and the team to understand, use, and continue to use persistently.
According to DroneDeploy, a drone surveying, and mapping app, Construction is the fastest-growing commercial drone adopter. By peering down at a project from above, contractors find invaluable information. Technologies like these will be used to avoid physical contact and enhance supervision.
Fortunately, it was easier for us to transition to the new workstyle of isolating each section of work in play. Our rigorous process involves isolating each unit at the job site and proofing it enough until the work is completed to move on to the next section. Contractors will need to follow the enhanced protocols of not spreading the disease and ensure the life and insurance of the property's health and the homeowners.
Enhanced protocols will include things specific to Construction and other expected things like masks and sanitizers. Transactions will be touchless and without using paper using the right technology, tools, gadgets, and project management software.
3. Augmented Reality
The construction job site is changing. Paper drawings, sketches, and design plans give way to drones, 3D models, and a new interactive experience called augmented reality. Augmented reality, or AR for short, is one of the most talked-about technology trends in Construction. AR combines the physical surroundings with computer-generated information and presents it in real-time using the advanced camera and sensor technology. AR is offering immense opportunities to improve the project lifecycle.
By combining digital and physical views, augmented reality helps construction teams drive more efficiency, accuracy, save time, have no physical contact, and increase the overall confidence in their projects. The AR global market is expected to grow by $90 billion by 2020.
4. Multi-use structures
Last year, homeowners spent most of their time at home, which gave them ideas to redo some spaces and bring in new energy in 2021. They DIY'd some areas into working corners, but with remote work seeming to be a thing to live in the future, they want to create dedicated home offices. 2021 will be the year they will put their plans of giving their home a makeover into reality.
According to a study, 36.2 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will be working remotely by 2025, an 87% increase from the number of remote workers before COVID-19. Additional Dwelling Units, garages, and different rooms will be used half as offices and half as living spaces. Living structures used for multiple purposes will be the future.
5. Customer Expectations
The overall standard for quality will be raised to meet and exceed customer expectations. The customer will need to be informed end-to-end, right from an accurate estimate of costs and change orders to the project's progress. Who is coming home to do the job, and when will they come? Some questions need to be answered in advance to have instilled confidence and smoother transactions to build desired homes with the right team invested in providing customer assurance and reliance. More and more contractors will be required to share end-to-end information and educate the customers.
Design technology has always been a popular construction trend before COVID-19, and there's simply no stopping to it. The promise of constructing the home in virtual space before building it in real life is just too great to be ignored by either designers or contractors.
The homeowners will have the ability to get picture-grade photorealistic 3D rendering in less time and effort to make better decisions for their homes and eliminate common and costly mistakes.
Contractors who fundamentally rethink the design and production process will have the upper hand.
2020 was the beginning of a movement--A movement of better planning, execution, and transformation in the way clients are served and informed. The year ahead will be a flourishing one for contractors, but not without increased risks and pandemic-related uncertainties. The ones successful will be the ones who keep the quality of their materials and their human resources high while maintaining a fair price that meets the expectations of the customer.