2020 brought on a host of new challenges both in the workplace and in everyday lives and how people use their homes. Companies shifting to remote working, shutdowns due to COVID cases, breaks in supply chains, and new social distancing requirements shifted everyone's perspective on daily living.
Construction was considered essential during this time and saw a few industry changes and a few elements that stayed the same. Here are some of the top industry trends we are expecting to see in 2021.
Increase in Residential Starts
Residential starts were up 7% in 2020 compared to 2019, with single-family housing rose to 12%. This increase is due to low mortgage rates and people leaving city life for the suburbs which are being fueled by the work from home shift that 2020 brought. This has impacted the rental market, especially in high-density areas, as renters are leaving for suburban areas that offer more of an outdoor lifestyle.
2. Changing product prices
2020 challenged many construction manufacturers and suppliers. Lumber prices skyrocketed 52% due to shutdowns that limited resources. Some flooring manufacturers saw a similar loss in product availability due to plant shutdowns. This has increased the cost of single-family and multi-family homes and delayed projects as supply is not as readily available.
3. Labor shortage- Work Disruptions
The issue of available qualified labor is a burden that has been weighing heavy on the construction industry for years. The climate of 2020 did not help with this shortage but fueled the fire as quarantines took out large groups of workers at a time. The shortage impacts construction schedules and points to a larger issue of lack of skilled laborers coming up in the workforce.
4. Modular construction
Utilizing modular construction is expected to rise in multi-family units and single-family homes. the ability to construct parts of the home and building off-site in controlled environments is lending some certainty in the uncertain times we face. This allows contractors to try to hold to schedules, material costs, and quality.
5. New design elements focused on a healthy home
2020 brought a lot into perspective for many people between being home more and the looming dangers related to health. More technology is begin designed, implemented, and brought to the mainstream that creates a healthier home. We are seeing digital whole-home applications that monitor the temperatures, allergens, and pollutants in your home. As well as UV disinfection lights, closets that sterilize clothes, and touch-free lighting/appliance/house automation applications.
6. Improved Technology
Technology is being pushed to the forefront in all areas of life, and the construction industry is no different. New programs to help contractors manage the job site, material ordering, payments, and communication with owners is becoming imperative. The new technology is helping customers stay in the loop with their project through picture updates they can view from anywhere, and track approvals and selections in real-time, with the backup data to be viewed by all parties later. 2020 pushed the envelope for everyone on how to shift to "remote" meeting applications and adapt to the changing availability to be face to face.