We’ve built homes virtually the same for the last 100 years. One of the only major differences is that we were using 2x4s that were actually 2”x4” before 1950. Now, even those staple items of construction have been reduced down by more than 20% (to 1.5”x3.5”.) While this industry has been historically very slow to change, it has no choice.
We don’t want to be Kodak. They invented digital technology and had the first digital camera, but they didn’t think the standard film industry would change. As a result, they never launched their digital camera leaving the competitors to redefine the category.
We can also take a note from the transportation industry. As there are more ride share companies like Lyft and Uber, younger generations will no longer need, or even want, to own a car. New multifamily buildings are being constructed with the knowledge that existing parking garages will need to be easily transformed into social and tenant space as cars go away.
Construction practices will change, with or without you. Standard (100 year) building practices will be replaced within the next three to five years for no other reason than they have to be. One area to pay close attention to is that “pre” is the future. There will be more pre-formed, pre-manufactured, pre-cast modular construction solutions that will dramatically address and solve the labor shortage. Constructing units before they arrive to the site also allows for more exacting and purposeful design. This means these newer construction approaches can more easily solve for new codes and sustainability goals. If you haven’t yet accounted for these construction trends in your long-term planning, you should. I’d be very concerned if the products you manufacture today don’t have a place in the pre-construction future.
The future is upon us, and there are many people forecasting big change. It’s your job to identify where the change may be going in your industry and then prepare your organization to take advantage of what the future holds.