5 construction industry trends for 2017

5 construction industry trends for 2017 Technology Gateways Ireland

The construction sector, like many others, has suffered in the last decade. Issues such as a decline in demand, increase in costs, a chronic skills shortage and the recent addition of Brexit, have caused difficulties and concerns within the industry. In recent times, however, companies have seen a marked improvement and there has been encouraging signs of recovery.

Demand is now increasing; skilled workers are returning home and technologies now exist which enable companies to stay ahead of the competition and increase market share. The potential to grow, develop and innovate is one which all companies seek irrespective of industry. The construction sector is no different, and companies are actively looking for ways in which to make this happen. One such way is to become aware of and act on current trends within the industry.

Trendwatch: the 5 trends making big impacts in 2017

  1. 3D printing

3D printing has gained significant prominence in recent years. Advances in technology and a reduction in cost has made it a viable option, in particular within the area of innovation and research. It significantly cuts time and costs in the prototyping and testing stage, which in turn helps with productivity gains, project planning, labour reduction, supply costs and waste reduction.

Advances in BIM (Building Information Modelling) are increasing the trend towards prefabrication and modularisation. The freedom for design, customised solutions and advanced engineering opportunities offered by 3D printing mean it will have an increased role to play in the development of innovative construction products. Further advances in technology will ensure that this trend increases in popularity in the coming years.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

From equipment tracking to BIM, from energy saving to remote operation, the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a key role in the revolution of the construction industry and related products. New and innovative construction products equipped with low cost, low power sensors are providing companies with information which in turn is being used to enhance processes, reduce costs and increase profitability.

This technology platform enhances opportunities for smart buildings and creates the possibility of a smart city with interconnected infrastructure. The opportunities for IoT innovation in construction are endless.

  1. Energy-saving buildings

Concerns about climate change has brought to the fore the need to ensure the buildings we design and construct are as efficient as possible. Recent advances in technology has allowed elements just as mobile apps, wireless technology, light communications and green materials to play a significant role in what will most certainly be the next stage of building design.

  1. Big data

Big Data refers to all types of information which exists within the industry. Whilst not an entirely new trend, it is however starting to make gains due to an explosion of new approaches to analyse collated data. New technologies have allowed companies to benefit from this valuable information, which is now being used effectively in areas such as design, operations and communications. In turn allowing enhanced insights, increased productivity, superior design and a smoother manufacturing process.

  1. Innovation and research

Innovation has seen a steady increase in recent years. Companies involved in all aspects of the construction industry are choosing to research and innovate as a means of setting themselves apart from the competition, enhancing their product line and developing products which will have a lasting impact on their industry.

However, it is still viewed by some as an expensive process, often beyond a firm’s current R&D capability. Help and support is available through various different initiatives to assist companies in this capacity. Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways is one such example.

How the Gateways can help

Our 15 technology gateway centres, together with their industry clusters (A-IoT and EMD Ireland), can assist companies in gaining access to specialised centres across the gateway network and innovation support funding from Enterprise Ireland.

We focus on key technologies which are aligned to current construction needs in areas such as polymers, photonics, mobile, coatings, industrial design, mechatronics, wireless technologies and precision engineering. We have previously worked with a wide variety of companies, big and small, within the sector since 2008. For more information on how we can help, download our 2017 Technology Gateways booklet or get in touch.

Innovation in Construction event

You may also be interested in our Innovation in Construction event on 14th September, in the Carlton Airport Hotel Dublin from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

If your company is involved in any aspect of the construction industry – design, utilities, engineering, manufacture, supplies, transport, building maintenance, health & safety etc, and you are interested in learning more about the R&D resources available to assist you in the development of new and innovative construction products and services, then this event is for you. Registration details and more information are available here.


About the author

Gráinne Foley - EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive

Gráinne Foley

EMD Ireland Cluster Marketing Executive