Heraclitus, the old Greek philosopher, said, "The only constant in life is change." What does this have to do with construction, you ask? In short, everything.
In a world that is constantly changing, it's only natural for the role of a general contractor to change as well. Gone are the days when contractors just managed construction sites – today, they have to wear multiple helmets and embrace sustainability, technology, new building materials, and more to adapt to modern challenges.
In this article, we explore the ways in which the construction industry is changing and adapting to the rising demands of the modern world and how these changes are affecting general contractors.
Technology is revolutionizing practically every industry, and while the construction industry is slow in digital adoption, it's finally embracing new advancements and technologies. Many contractors today use project management software solutions, 3D modeling, and some even rely on drones for site analysis and planning and design. These tools help contractors plan projects more efficiently, detect issues in advance, and ultimately reduce expensive errors.
Technology also helps contractors connect with customers and grow their business. For example, lead generation companies that provide flooring leads help contractors increase sales by directly targeting potential customers who have already shown interest in their services.
Becoming More Sustainable
The world is becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and general contractors who plan to remain successful are keeping up. More and more, contractors are incorporating green(er) building materials, like wood, bamboo, or reclaimed or recycled steel, and energy-efficient designs. Solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and green roofs are just some of the sustainable innovations contractors are embracing.
While some of this adaptation to eco-conscious practices is about following new regulations, part of the reason is also about reducing environmental impact and saving clients money in the long run.
Better Collaboration and Communication
Every successful construction project is a result of effective collaboration and communication between different partners and team members. Today, the vast majority of successful contractors are using digital tools and platforms to communicate with not only subcontractors, but architects, engineers, suppliers, and clients.
Project management software solutions are ideal for this as they allow real-time collaboration between team members and help reduce miscommunication, delays, and costly errors. Regular communication apps are, of course, standard at this point, as they help ensure everyone is on the same page.
Adapting to New Building Codes and Regulations
As mentioned, building codes and regulations are also changing. For example, many states now require insulated concrete forms to meet minimum energy performance standards, so general contractors wishing to stay ahead of the curve are continuously educating themselves and adapting to new standards.
After all, most buildings today need to be future-proof, meaning able to withstand natural disasters and environmental challenges. Whether it's fire codes, accessibility requirements, or environmental standards, staying up-to-date is essential for general contractors.
This is also why collaboration with partners is so important: to ensure their projects meet all the latest codes and regulations, contractors have to work hand-in-hand with architects and engineers.
More Stringent Safety Practices
Safety has always been a top priority in construction, but the methods for achieving it have evolved. Today, general contractors are implementing cutting-edge technologies and safety measures to protect both workers and the public.
Wearable technology, such as smart helmets and vests, can monitor the health and safety of workers in real time. As mentioned, drones are also used, but not only for site analysis and planning: they can also inspect high-risk areas and, thus, help minimize the need for workers to be exposed to danger.