As 2021 draws to a close, the construction industry can applaud itself. While it hasn’t been a year without challenges, overall the outlook remains positive. There have been some significant changes in the industry ushered in by materials and skills shortages. Construction simply had to adapt and do things differently. As the shortages are unlikely to resolve and inflationary pressures are being added, efficiency will be the key to success in 2022. We look at several ways in which the industry can achieve this:

Off-site manufacturing has been gaining momentum and is set to play a much bigger role in construction in the future. A significant area of growth has been housing projects. Off-site manufacturing is offering a level of efficiency that cannot be matched by more traditional construction methods. The saving in time and labour is helping to increase the output and housing delivery. Major projects are also benefitting from offsite construction. Major bridges and overpasses are being shifted into place in a matter of days, minimizing the disruption to traffic. Previously this would have resulted in months or even years of throttled lanes, not to mention the increased safety risk to construction workers. New frameworks now require at least 20% off-site manufacturing and this percentage may well increase as off-site manufacturing continues to expand and improve.

Reuse and recycling of building materials is likely to gain increased attention. This is being driven by a number of factors including new waste reduction and carbon emissions legislation, as well as the pinch being felt by materials shortages and price increases. Reducing material waste on sites will become increasingly important, but so too will finding ways to repurpose and reuse materials. There is a great deal of innovation happening in this area by the recycling and waste management industry that can support construction. Cross industry collaboration will be key to unlocking greater efficiency potential.

Technology is a powerful tool that can enable greater efficiency, from BIM through to scanning devices that measure the accuracy of building on sites. There’s huge value in being able to pick up on errors early on and being able to correct them, rather than them resulting in major disruptions and delays later on.

Ending 2021, we remain positive for the outlook for next year. From all of us at Ellis Fox, we wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to continue working with you in 2022.