image of a construction worker on site holding a tablet device

In 2023, the construction industry faced numerous challenges including ongoing disruptions in the supply chain, increasing inflation, and persistent labour shortages. These obstacles have become all too familiar in recent times, prompting construction companies to reassess their strategies and adjust to the evolving landscape. Technology has emerged as a key solution, with many companies and teams embracing its potential for the better. This has become especially crucial as traditional methods of working have become less reliable and efficient. 

As we move into 2024 and beyond, it is evident that the role of technology in construction will continue to grow. Companies will increasingly rely on data-driven decision making, virtual and augmented reality for project planning and management, and drones for site inspections. Moreover, with sustainability becoming a top priority across all industries, construction companies are also investing in green building practices. From using sustainable materials to implementing energy-efficient designs, the industry is taking big strides towards reducing its environmental impact.  

In order to stay competitive and meet the ever-changing demands of clients, it is crucial for construction companies to continue embracing new technologies and practices. This not only improves their bottom line but also allows them to deliver better quality projects in a timely manner. With an emphasis on sustainability and technology, the future of the construction industry looks promising despite the challenges faced in 2023.  

And the situation continues to improve: A recent report from Deloitte shows a 7.4% increase in total construction spending in Q3 of 2023. Additionally, Reportlinker forecasts the global construction market to see a 17.2% CAGR from 2023 to 2028. 

In this article, we explore some of the upcoming anticipated key construction industry trends to grow in 2024: 

Trend 1: A global rise in modular building 

By 2024, the Australian construction industry is expected to further align with global trends. This may entail a heightened emphasis on sustainable construction, harnessing advanced technologies such as BIM, and embracing eco-friendly building methods. Notably, modular construction and pre-fabrication will take centre stage in this context. 

Modular building, also known as prefabricated construction or offsite construction, is a method of building where individual components are manufactured in a controlled environment and then assembled on site. This trend has gained significant attention in recent years due to its numerous advantages such as increased efficiency, reduced waste, and faster project completion times. 

One global theme that modular building aligns with is sustainable construction. By manufacturing components in a controlled environment, there is less waste generated and materials can be more efficiently used. It also allows for the use of sustainable materials such as recycled steel and timber, further contributing to environmentally friendly construction practices.  

Modular building also aligns with advanced technologies like Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM allows for a more collaborative and integrated approach to project planning, design, and construction. This can greatly benefit the modular building process as it requires precise coordination between different components. 

Trend 2: Continued investment in automation and robotic technologies 

Historically, the construction industry has lagged behind in embracing technology. However, it is now imperative that technology is not only embraced to a greater extent but also continuously improved to enhance usability while mitigating schedule, safety, and cost overrun risks. 

With the construction industry currently facing a shortage of skilled labour, it becomes crucial to invest in automation and robotic technologies. By incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), companies can enhance their workforce, leading to improved efficiency, accuracy, and project delivery speed. Additionally, prefabricated construction and robotics are emerging as viable solutions to address the labour shortage. Prefabrication involves the off-site assembly of building components, enabling faster and more efficient on-site construction while reducing the reliance on manual labour. 

Robotic technologies are experiencing increased popularity in the construction industry. Machines are now utilized for a variety of tasks including bricklaying, welding, and demolition. These innovations not only address labour shortages but also enhance safety on construction sites by minimizing the risk of human errors and accidents. 

Trend 3: Greater data integration and collaboration   

Data integration and collaboration are two essential elements that underpin many successful projects within the construction industry. As such, there is a growing focus on developing solutions that can facilitate these processes and allow for greater efficiency and productivity. 

One of the key drivers behind this trend is the increasing complexity of construction projects. With multiple stakeholders, contractors, and suppliers involved in any given project, there is a need for effective collaboration and data sharing in order to ensure smooth project delivery. This trend is also being driven by the rapid advancement of technology, particularly in terms of data management and analysis. With the development of advanced systems such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), there is now a greater opportunity for data integration and collaboration among various parties involved in construction projects. The integration of data from different sources also allows for more comprehensive analysis and insights that can inform decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.  

Collaboration doesn’t just apply to internal teams; it’s also becoming increasingly important for clients and contractors to work together closely. As clients become more involved in project management and decision-making, the need for effective communication and data sharing between all parties is crucial.  

The challenges faced by the workforce will persist, but within them lies the opportunity to invest in training and bolster workers’ digital literacy, ultimately enhancing efficiency and productivity. By fostering a culture of collaboration and data-sharing, projects of any size and scale can benefit from improved communication, better risk management, and increased transparency. The integration of data can also lead to more accurate cost estimations and project forecasting. 

Trend 4: An increased focus on sustainability and green building  

The trend towards sustainability and green building is not new, but it is certainly gaining momentum. In 2024, we can expect to see an increased focus on sustainable practices in the construction sector, with a particular emphasis on reusing materials in a more efficient way. 

It’s clear that there is growing awareness and desire among consumers for eco-friendly buildings and homes. However, the challenge for the construction industry lies in finding ways to make sustainable practices financially feasible and practical for builders, contractors, and developers. This is where data can play a crucial role. With the help of data analysis, construction companies can identify opportunities for cost savings and efficiency improvements when implementing green practices.  

The recent United Nations climate change conference (COP 28) once again highlighted the significance of the built environment. However, it is evident that the current pace and scale of change are insufficient. As we look towards 2024 and beyond, the global construction ecosystem will experience even greater transformation. This includes a heightened focus on green building practices, stricter energy efficiency standards, and the adoption of new sustainable materials and construction methods.  

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits of green building, there are also social benefits to consider. Sustainable buildings can contribute to better health and well-being for occupants, with features like natural lighting, air quality control, and efficient waste management systems. Green construction practices also create job opportunities in areas such as renewable energy installation and energy-efficient retrofitting. 

Trend 5: Team communication gaps will continue to close  

In 2024 the construction sector will see the communication gap close further between site personnel and those in the office, the technology is there for site staff to be able to share day to day thoughts via the cloud, and capture this against documentation and designs.  

With the rise of cloud-based technology and digital tools, it is becoming easier for site personnel and office staff to communicate effectively – teams can now share information and collaborate in real-time, regardless of their physical location. In the past, there was often a disconnect between those working on the construction site and those in the office, which hindered project progress and caused delays. 

In addition, the use of digital documentation and design software has made it easier for site staff to capture and share thoughts on a project, making communication more efficient and transparent. This not only improves team dynamics and productivity but also reduces the risk of errors or miscommunications that could lead to costly mistakes. 

As the construction industry continues to grow and evolve, it is essential for teams to embrace new technology and ways of working in order to stay competitive and meet client expectations. This not only includes using digital tools for document management and design, but also utilizing communication platforms that enhance collaboration and streamline processes. 

In addition, project managers and leaders will need to prioritize training and upskilling their teams in order to effectively implement these technologies and ensure smooth communication between all team members. This will also require a cultural shift towards embracing technology and digital solutions, rather than being resistant to change. 

Trend 6: Increased utilization of BIM, digital twins, and cohesive digital workflows  

One of the most significant trends we expect to see in 2024 is an increased utilization of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and digital twins. BIM enables project teams to create and manage virtual 3D models of buildings, allowing for better collaboration, improved decision-making, and reduced errors during the construction process. Digital twins take this a step further by creating a digital replica of the physical building, allowing for real-time monitoring and analysis of its performance. This technology can improve predictive maintenance, energy efficiency, and overall building management. 

The industry is ready to continue its digital evolution, focusing on using Building Information Modeling (BIM), digital twins, and cohesive digital workflows. These advancements will simplify project management, enhance collaboration among stakeholders, and ensure better project transparency. 

The convergence of BIM and digital twins promises a streamlined construction process, yielding cost savings and heightened productivity. By fostering cohesive digital workflows that seamlessly connect project data across diverse software platforms, this efficiency is further amplified, ensuring quality, consistency and precision throughout the project’s lifecycle. 

Building resilience: Embracing trends shaping the 2024 construction landscape 

The trajectory of the construction sector in 2024 promises an era of transformative trends and innovation, reshaping the landscape of the industry. As we navigate through the latest developments, it is evident that technology will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of construction. From the integration of AI and IoT for smarter project management to the emphasis on sustainable building practices, the trends unveiled in this exploration herald a dynamic and forward-looking era for the construction sector. 

The 2024 trends in the construction sector reflect a collective effort to prioritize eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient designs, and a conscientious approach to environmental impact — a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability. This signifies not only a response to global sustainability challenges but also an industry-wide recognition of the need for responsible and resilient construction practices. 

Get started with a digital approach to construction management today – book a free PlanRadar product demo to find out how your business can benefit.