Construction is the largest global industry accounting for 13% of global GDP. They include infrastructure, industrial structures, and real estate, and today many companies are adjusting their business models to embrace the next normal in construction. It is a fact that COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for the uptake of technology for construction companies. The need for real-time collaboration as well as reliance on technology to maintain better business control has come to the fore during the pandemic. Contractors quickly realized the importance of turning to construction technology to improve performance and productivity in turbulent times. So, it seems like the question many are asking is what is the future of the construction industry after COVID-19. Well, a big shift has already taken place but what the builders have in store is something we will be discussing at length today. Be Prepared for Industry Overhaul All those who wonder what the next building normal will look like must be prepared to overhaul the industry and be prepared to prepare for a changing market. With technological advances gaining ground, and disruptive newcomers eager to absorb the technology, the building ecosystem is in a complete storm. In an industry that was already in turmoil before, the primary change that will now sweep the construction landscape will be a concern for safety and sustainability. Other factors that will act as a catalyst for change are the rising cost pressure of affordable housing, the shortage of skilled labour, job sites that are expected to have stricter regulations, and the evolving needs of customers. The catch is that the digitization of processes is something to watch as it will shape the dynamics of the future in the construction industry. Let’s take a quick look at the factors that will increase the need for change and what the next normal in construction will look like: Increasing demand for sustainability factors and safety regulations From the potential standardization of building codes to safety and sustainability regulations, the demand for green buildings and sustainability requirements will rise. Aside from reducing carbon emissions and keeping the revolving door of skilled workers happy, sustainability will continue to be an important factor in decision-making. Due to discussions regarding reducing carbon emissions, many construction companies will have to consider the environmental impact and make construction safer for the workforce of the future. Other factors that will require a response are supply chain optimization and adopting a more product-based outlook than was previously a project-based approach. Also, modular construction and production in off-site construction facilities and data-driven models will appear and are likely to dominate the landscape. Contractors will need to specialize in end-user sectors, and those who want to expand and expand their global presence will maintain influence. Brand will play a role As production develops, having a compelling brand focused on serving construction needs will gain added value. Also, building brands need to develop a distinct identity that highlights their products, reliability, quality of service, value, delivery time, warranties, and service offerings to remain competitive. Investing in Facilities and Technology An increase in digitization and technology diffusion is happening in construction companies at a rapid pace. The construction site is like to become capital-intensive in the future and spending on robotics, drones, advanced automation equipment, and research and development (R&D) is likely to continue to increase. This will certainly lead to the development of new and innovative products and give impetus to the increasing adoption of newer technologies to form the most productive construction companies. The growing need for specialization Construction companies will invest significantly in innovation and in new facilities, including new materials and technology on a much larger scale than today. A higher degree of redundancy and standardization is expected if builders are looking to expand their business. This will lead to greater consolidation with higher standardization and the need for specialization when it comes to construction offerings. Investing in human resources to attract a workforce and build a talent pipeline In construction, there will be an increased demand to develop and retain talent within the company. This will force players to invest more in human resources and they will need to have dedicated digital talent that increases excitement about future business models. The next normal in construction expertise will force employers to invest and attract diverse players to tackle future challenges. Product-based approach The future will see an increasing need for services and structures that will market standardized products. The construction would be no different, as it would be modular construction where components would be produced in off-site factories and designs become more customizable, and one could imagine a completely different approach to construction, and it would certainly be more product dependent. Moving Forward The next normal for building is to develop smart building strategies to deal with future disruptions. It’s all about planning for the shifts that happen and reviewing the value chain so construction managers know how to play and defend their core business. Basically, builders must be ready to reinvent themselves when they start working on a new setup. Furthermore, they will have to defend their core business and embrace building technology to become agile and evolution-enabled in the face of transformation. Therefore, contractors who learn about the next normal will maintain a competitive advantage as they will be prepared with better solutions. Hence, the construction business must begin to improve logistics, strengthen customer relationships to be in a better position to create value, and focus on supply chain capabilities. To successfully ride the wave called the next normal, builders must use insight to anticipate big shifts to generate higher-than-market returns. All the impulses, namely digitization, industrialization and globalization, strike the construction at the same time. Thus, the agile movements and bold steps of sequential wave maneuvering require an action-based approach to the incumbents to stay ahead of the competition. In the face of this shift, it is best to understand what will affect the bargaining power of construction companies and make a contingency plan by watching trends. The process has already begun, the wheels have been turned on, but the question for builders is whether they are willing to take big risks and accept the next normal. Ed Williams is the Senior Team Leader at ProjectPro, an integrated structural accounting software. He has extensive industry experience and is a Microsoft Dynamics expert focused on successful implementations. He is a visionary leader and always aims to provide the best for the construction and project oriented industries.