In this issue of Cable and Ties, we’re handing over your own pair of vision goggles. Adapting your business to these building design and construction trends will help you grow your business or, at the very least, sharpen your competitive edge. Whether you design, build or lend support to those who do, seize the future by being the first to stock your idea toolbox with these innovative ideas. Take a look.
TECHNOLOGY: As capturing data grows in importance, Building Information Modeling or BIM will expand among construction firms, regardless of size. According to ConstructionDive, BIM provides “more consistent, more accurate and less time-consuming project document generation.” It also rates high on being a collaborative tool. Simulating the construction project before it begins allows users to actually see “what-if” scenarios before they ever get to the jobsite.
MARKETING: Construction has long been a commodity business. You design. You engineer. You build. You take on the next project. According to Strategy&, “success will be determined by those who can differentiate themselves from the crowded pack.” This might be using innovative technology, expanding services, hiring Millennials and creating a more diverse workforce, or changing the way you engage customers with your services (like offering concierge service or an app to keep track of your work – think “customer experience” and how you can set yourself apart).
GREEN: Positive Energy (also called PlusEnergy) takes over where zero energy once reigned. In an infographic from Citizens General Insurance Brokers, positive energy “uses solar power to produce more energy than they consume.” That means constructing buildings that work as hard as the people in them by using energy generation technologies like solar panels, heavy insulation and water retention systems. The Sun Ship building in Freiburg, Germany is a 60,000-square-foot mixed use commercial and residential facility that uses vacuum-insulated panels, triple-paned windows, reinforced concrete in the supporting structure, and an energy-optimized façade made of wood, according to architect Rolf Disch’s website. Disch built the first Positive Energy building in 1994.
HEALTH: The health-conscious commercial building promotes workforce wellness. With the high cost of insurance premiums and healthcare, more companies are nurturing a health-focused culture at work. Examples might include encouraging employees to take the stairs through signage or artwork, installing a walkway or path with distance markers, building of an exercise room, offering treadmill desks, or installing reflection gardens and healthy snack kiosks.
DRONES: Drones equipped with high-res cameras are being used in aerial surveying and mapping by some construction companies. According to Gizmag, “… through monitoring and aerial mapping, drones are proving indispensable for forward-thinking companies looking to stay one step ahead.” The value of drones is that the site data they capture provides for better decision-making for project managers, superintendents, construction contractors and surveyors.
PEOPLE: While technology and futuristic trends might seem to define the construction visionary, one aspect is much more down-to-earth and easily accessible: treating customers and suppliers like real people. With the proliferation of technology and the raising of an entire generation on mobile devices, companies that follow-up in a timely manner, keep their promises, provide helpful advice and make others feel important will ultimately set themselves apart.