10 Construction Industry Trends 2018/19


Keeping on top of new and emerging trends in the construction industry not only helps keep your company from falling behind, but it helps you prepare for the future. This year has been an interesting year, with many changes to supply routes and technology. With the continuing growth and evolution of the construction industry, companies must stay up-to-date if they want to remain competitive. Here are 10 construction industry trends in 2018 that will carry into 2019.

Technology Advancements and Integration

The construction industry has been notoriously slow to jump into technology; however, this is a construction industry trend that isn’t going away. Construction project management software is getting better and better with more features. Many project management solutions are bundling scheduling, project management, and time in order to better serve construction companies. As these programs get better, this industry trend will carry over into 2019.

However, the technological advancements in the construction industry aren’t limited just to software. Drone usage is becoming more popular with construction companies as drones themselves become cheaper. Drones and aerial photography are useful for getting photographs and video of the landscape. They are increasing safety around the job site and can add more information to survey data.

Not only is the technology getting better, there are more options available. These options give contractors the ability to get drones, and other construction technologies at costs and with features that work best for them. Technology advancements and integrations are a construction industry trend in 2018 that will definitely carry over into 2019.

Construction Drone

Green Technology in Construction

Green construction is a growing field in construction. More and more buildings and plans are incorporating green technology into the construction process. Green construction is a way of building projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient way. It covers from planning to design, to construction, maintenance, and demolition. These methods aren’t that different from the classic building methods since the economy, utility and durability are all important facets of the process.

The construction industry accounts for about 20% of global emissions. However, with crumbling buildings and an expanding population, there is a need for more buildings. By constructing environmentally friendly buildings and focusing on the longevity of the building, it is better for the environment.

Along with green construction methods, there is an increase in research into green construction projects. There are carbon scrubbing building facades, bricks made of recycled cigarette butts, thermally driven air conditioners and asphalt that will heal itself. This increase in green technology is part of the construction industry trends that will continue.

Increase in Modular and Prefabricated Construction Projects

Part of the construction industry trends we’ll continue to see into 2019 will probably be modular and prefabricated construction projects. Modular construction companies are making the news, in part because of the rate at which they can build residential and commercial buildings. Modular construction is a prefabricated approach to building repetitive structures. So office buildings, hotels, apartments and other such buildings are great for modular and prefabricated buildings.

Prefabricated and modular construction is a rising trend because of the amount of material, time, and flexibility of it. Modular construction has the ability to save companies a lot of time and money. Because units are built off campus in a factory, companies do not have to worry about the weather. The units also recycle material they don’t end up using or even excess material. This helps cut back on waste which is currently undergoing a big push at the moment. And they can build units that meet your exact specifications quickly and easily.

Increasing Material Cost

Increasing material costs is part of the construction industry trends that will continue into 2019. Prices were predicted to increase by 2-3% in the course of 2018. Construction companies were bracing for what these costs would mean to them and preparing for ways to stay competitive within the industry.

Building material costs have increased between the end of December 2017 and now. An Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data proved that there is an increased cost. To be specific there was a 9% increase in building materials since this time last year. It comes at about 1% a month between this year and last year. The big rising costs were in Iron and Steel, Steel Mill Products, and Softwood lumber. These construction industry trends will continue so long as there is a decreased supply and increased cost for the supply.

Decreased Labor Force

There are nearly a quarter of a million open construction jobs in the United States, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. The main problem with it is that there are many projects, but production has slowed or stalled due to the labor shortage. While this is why companies are turning to modular and prefabricated construction in order to make project deadlines, it doesn’t’ change the dwindling number of workers.

It’s one of the construction industry trends that will continue into 2019. Since the unemployment rate is still very low, that means there are many available positions for workers. When there is a large number of available positions, it becomes harder for companies to draw in new people. But this is a trend that will continue into 2019 unless companies do something to draw more people into the construction industry.

Better Safety Equipment

Construction industry trends that will continue into 2019 are the better safety equipment products. With the rise in new equipment, there will also be a rise in standards. Due to the hiring number of accidents and deaths related to construction, it’s clear that there will be a push for better safety equipment.

There are work boots that can connect to Wi-Fi, send their GPS coordinates, and can even tell if users have fallen or are tired. While smart boots are hard to get  now, they and products like them will eventually be a commonplace item on the job site. The technology used in moisture-wicking fabric and cooling vests are also getting lighter and more effective. And with drones and other surveying equipment, it is easier to see other problem areas of a job site. This will help keep more of the workers safe on a site and bring about a new era in construction safety.


While this might seem like the same trend as green technology, green technologies are products that can better or create a carbon neutral footprint. But sustainability is part of the methods and business models that make the world a better place.

Sustainable construction can include the preservation of the environment, an efficient use of resources, with an eye to social progress and culture. These can include buildings with ways for natural light to reach the middle of the building, thereby reducing electrical costs or buildings that reuse water from the sinks in the toilets. These focus on making small changes to reduce the number of resources necessary to build a new building and such.

Some sustainable projects are looking to reuse original structures that were there before or recycling construction materials. A sustainable future is part of the construction industry trends that will continue into 2019.

Project Management Solutions

Along with all the technological advances that are here, construction project management software is a trend that will carry into 2019. The number of companies producing their own modules for current project management solutions has increased within the last couple of years. So too has the number of companies that are creating construction project management solutions.

Company owners have better software options then a couple years ago. Not only are the user interfaces easier to use, but there are more options. Project management solutions now can have a time solution, equipment rentals, change orders, and other more traditional project management options. With all of these changes, it is easier for construction companies to manage their projects. Project management software can keep all documents related to the project in one location, which can help subcontractors and contractors get paid at the end of a project.


Building Information Modeling

Building information modeling, or BIM, is another growing construction industry trend that will carry over into 2019. BIM is a way of representing buildings, roads, and utilities. It is a process of generating and managing computer representations of the projects before they are built. Architects and engineers can use the models to show how building materials will hold up overtime. And owners can create maintenance schedules with BIM models.

BIM is proving to be a useful tool in construction. It not only can better predict job costs, but companies that use BIM can tell if the project is possible. Sometimes there isn’t enough space for HVAC needs, or predetermined pieces won’t fit and will need to be reordered. BIM can be used to build better projects.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.


Innovation & Technology Rush in the Oil Sands

Oil Sands
Oil sands operators and suppliers alike are trying to find ways to reduce operations costs and cut emissions By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

Dozens of emerging technologies for almost every facet of oil sands production could be paving the way for solutions to the most significant environmental and operational challenges faced today. In fact, according to a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), these emerging technologies are establishing a foundation for the industry to reduce its operational costs by 40 per cent and its emissions by up to 80 per cent. There is an innovation rush in Alberta’s oil sands and the impacts could be far reaching.

An innovative environment

“Most of us think of innovation in terms of technology but innovation can happen in lots of different ways,” said Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), formed in 2012 by 10 oil companies that account for 90 per cent of oil sands production. “The COSIA model itself is probably one of the biggest innovations in the oil sector.”

Instead of treating innovation as a means to gain a competitive advantage, the COSIA companies collaborate in developing new technologies to improve their environmental and operational performance, said Wicklum. They have already shared $1.4 billion worth of intellectual property for some 985 technologies and innovations. Two years ago, COSIA also launched the international US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE for CO2 emission-reduction technologies that can convert CO2 into usable products.

“A good innovation system needs good people, good ideas and good funding, but it also needs the testing infrastructure,” said Wicklum. To this end, COSIA partnered with the federal and Alberta governments to create the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC) in Calgary, which opened in May. Built adjacent to the Shepard Energy Centre, which provides flue gas emissions from a natural gas-fired power plant, the new facility enables innovators with the capabilities to test, refine and scale-up technologies for commercialization that convert CO2 into usable products.

In April, COSIA announced the 10 finalists for the Carbon XPRIZE. Each will receive a US$500,000 award to take their technologies to a commercialization-ready stage. Five of the finalists are focused on gas-based CO2 conversion and will be the ACCTC’s first tenants. (The teams focused on converting coal-based CO2 will go to Wyoming’s Integrated Test Center.) Using CO2, Carbicrete turns steel slag industrial waste into cement-free concrete, CERT creates value-added fuels and feedstocks, Newlight fabricates bioplastics, Carbon Upcycling Technologies builds graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives, and C2CNT manufactures nanotubes. Along with the finalists in Wyoming, they will be scaling up their technologies for commercialization as they compete for one of the two $7.5 million grand prizes, which will be awarded in 2020.


Autonomous haul systems

With oil sands haulage fleets as big as they are, the potential for automation is obvious, but its implementation has demanded creative thinking to contend with the difficult conditions in the region.

For Komatsu, which has worked with Suncor since 2013 on adapting the OEM’s autonomous haulage systems (AHS) that it has rolled out in the Pilbara iron range of Western Australia, the oil sands posed unique challenges, namely the cold winters and the soft underfooting of the ore bodies. Winterizing and the development of a multi-trajectory system to prevent the trucks from damaging the roads resolved the challenges.

Suncor is planning to add 150 AHS units at its oil sands mines over the next six years, starting with the North Steepbank mine. It is not the only oil sands mining company considering the new technology. Canadian Natural Resources is planning a small pilot project for 2019.

Komatsu’s AHS combines autonomous trucks with manned support equipment and shovels. “We have five layers of safety to allow humans to interact with the autonomous trucks,” said Brian Yureskes, director of Komatsu’s business development for the oil sands. “Some of those are virtual layers of safety so the system is able to see and anticipate what humans are doing around the trucks. Some are physical layers such as lasers and radar. The final layer is that every single piece of equipment that is manned and operated in the area has a big red button that, when you push it, stops all the autonomous trucks.”

According to Scott Schellenberg, senior manager of AHS for SMS Equipment, the Canadian distributor for Komatsu, the autonomous technology itself has increased safety. “Humans working around the autonomous haulers can see on their screens where the trucks are and know where they are headed versus with a human driving the truck,” he said.

The digital oil sands

The oil sands are increasingly adopting machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research at CERI. “I’m noticing it’s happening faster now that these technologies have been in the commercial space for a little while,” she said.

Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations, a partnership between Canada’s oil and gas companies and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, points to two innovative companies with technologies that have powerful benefits for the oil and gas sector as well as the oil sands. One is Kelvin, which has an artificial intelligence system that has been deployed in BP’s oil and gas fields in Wamsutter, Wyoming. There, hundreds of inexpensive sensors have been installed in the wells where they gather data that is transmitted via the cloud to powerful computers. These identify patterns and form predictions, which are used to create optimization tweaks that are sent back down to the controls in the field.

“The days of one shift coming in and tweaking all the dials is going to go away,” said Reed. “Computers do it better.”

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.