In 2022, the U.S. construction industry was valued at about $1.8 trillion, most of which comes from private residential construction.
However, recent supply chain issues and labor shortages have made it hard to keep up with the demand for building homes. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a lumber shortage, and not enough young workers are entering the construction field to replace those retiring. According to one estimate, the construction workforce shortage has topped half a million.
Such trends are making the development of new tech in the construction industry more important and exciting than ever. Here are the top five to look out for in 2023:
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka drones, are perhaps the most widely used emerging tech. They can be used to map, survey, and inspect work sites. How? By capturing aerial images and videos. When executed properly, drone surveys can save a lot of time and labor costs.
In 2023, the construction drone service market is expected to reach a valuation of $1.14 billion. Furthermore, it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.4% from 2023 to 2033, achieving an estimated market value of $9.37 billion by the end of 2033.
2. 3D construction printing
When you think of products made from 3D printing, you might think of small plastic figures. However, 3D printing technology has advanced to create much larger structures, including accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and even full-sized houses.
Builders can now use materials other than wood and stone to create forms with accuracy and precision on repeat. Though the startup cost of the machinery is expensive, builders that use 3D printing can benefit from economies of scale.
In 2022, the global 3D printing construction market reached $3.42 billion. It’s projected to hit about $519 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 65.25% from 2023 to 2032.
3. Building information modeling (BIM)
Building information modeling (BIM) is 3D modeling software that builders can use before, during, and after construction. It uses graphical blueprints that are updated in real time to help contractors stay on the same page regarding building status.
For example, BIM can help an electrician know when a room is ready for electrical wiring or a painter know once a wall has been insulated. It can also automatically detect discrepancies between as-built blueprints and original designs so you can address them early on before they become bigger issues.
Ultimately, BIM helps prevent building mistakes and delays, which can reduce construction time and costs. In 2022, the global building information modeling market reached $7.5 billion. It’s expected to reach $17.9 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 15.9% between 2023 and 2028.
4. Artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tools
Similar to BIM, artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can help builders plan and visualize projects before starting on them. For example, VR lets you conduct virtual walkthroughs of a future building. This makes it easier to get all stakeholders on board to help ensure they are satisfied with the end result.
The AR in construction market was worth $9 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to grow to $150 billion by 2030.
5. Sustainable waste removal
Lastly, sustainable building technology is becoming increasingly important as consumers become more environmentally conscious. According to one estimate, 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing behavior to help the environment, and 66% are willing to pay more for more sustainable brands.
As a result, eco-friendly tech such as solar panels, biodegradable materials, prefabricated building models, and sustainable dumpster rentals are on the rise.
In 2021, the global green construction market reached a valuation of $290 billion. It’s expected to reach $774 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2022 to 2030.
Clearly, there’s a lot of pending growth for these five construction technologies. So keep your eyes open and consider how you can implement them in your own construction projects.