One constant through centuries of business history is construction, the world’s largest industry. It’s little wonder that construction continues attracting men and women who want a career in a stable, highly valued industry that impacts everything from the local job market to how people function at home and work.

While construction has remained a thriving industry, it’s also constantly evolving. Innovations in technology, regulatory changes, and market demand drive construction industry trends. In recent times, these trends are reshaping the industry and have the potential to improve efficiency, sustainability, and safety.

Those who aspire to earn a college degree in construction management can play a vital role in creating the built environment. Part of that education is learning about the construction industry trends driving change.

Construction is the World’s Largest Industry

Construction, which includes real estate, infrastructure, and industrial structures, ranks as the largest industry in the global economy. Construction accounts for 13% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to McKinsey & Co.

The industry involves various activities, including architectural design, engineering, project management, procurement of materials, construction site operations, construction management, and post-construction services.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the construction industry, which one expert in the field called “one of the most important activities for economic and social development.” Construction involves the creation of residential buildings, commercial complexes, industrial facilities, bridges, roads, dams, airports, and facilities that support energy generation, basic sanitation, and communications.

Construction also employs a diverse workforce, including skilled tradespeople, architects, engineers, construction managers, and laborers.

The Latest Construction Industry Trends

As with every industry, one of the most significant ongoing changes in construction management is a focus on climate change and environmental sustainability, driving the movement toward sustainable and “green building” practices. These include using energy-efficient materials, renewable energy sources, and environmentally friendly construction techniques.

Innovations in technology account for most of the other construction industry trends. For example, construction sites increasingly use connected devices and sensors – collectively known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – to better track and efficiently use construction equipment. These systems also enable predictive maintenance on vehicles and other powered assets, such as generators. Construction Digital Magazine, a trade publication for the industry, writes that they expect to see “an exponential rise in the adoption of IoT devices in construction” in the coming year.

Construction managers increasingly use AI-driven robotics and automation, including drones, 3D printing, and even autonomous vehicles, according to Construction Digital Magazine. Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems, already in use by many in the industry, will continue to expand because of their proven ability to enable effective collaboration, improve design accuracy, and increase construction management efficiency.

Cloud computing, which makes project data more flexible and accessible, will continue to grow as the industry embraces data-driven decision-making.

Economic turbulence also will impact the industry. For example, inflation has raised the cost of vital materials for the construction industry, including steel, iron, and lumber. While prices have stabilized somewhat, experts still anticipate that construction projects will face budgetary issues in the short term and constraints caused by global supply chain bottlenecks.

NMU Global Campus BS in Construction Management

NMU Global Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career in the construction industry.

The 100% online degree program allows students to pursue their education remotely, enabling working professionals the flexibility to earn a degree while balancing their personal and professional lives. NMU encourages women to enroll for a degree in the once male-dominated field, becoming part of a change that has seen the number of women in construction continues to grow.

The degree program aims to equip students with the practical skills required in the construction industry. Through coursework and hands-on learning experiences, students develop construction project management, cost control, quality assurance, and risk management skills. They gain proficiency in using industry-standard software and tools for project planning, estimating, and scheduling.

Students also reap the benefits of learning from experienced faculty with industry expertise and academic qualifications. The faculty members bring real-world perspectives to the virtual classroom, giving students valuable insights into the construction industry and its best practices.