7 Important Trends & Upcoming Changes In Residential Construction

7 Important Trends & Upcoming Changes In Residential Construction

The field of residential construction has witnessed monumental changes and transformations over the last few years, which largely remain under-the-radar as far as the general public is concerned. From disruptive new technologies, to systems, processes, and design innovations, these trends are now finally rising to the fore, with major implications for real estate, homebuyers, and the broader economy.

Housing has always been a contentious issue for western civilizations, with zoning, land-use planning, and density restrictions in an unending face-off with affordability, homelessness, and a host of other issues that come with it. While local governments across the world have taken a number of steps to address these issues, the ball unequivocally lies in the court of technology, digitization, and innovations.

From the use of AI and ML to aid in planning, to the innovative project management approaches that come with building information systems (BIM), residential construction is all set for an overhaul, and the final result will be beautiful. In this article, we take a deep dive into the trends and disruptions that are coming for this centuries old industry, and what individuals and homeowners can expect from the same.

1.   Sustainability

Since becoming the rallying cry of our times, sustainability trends have since left no major corner of the economy untouched, and residential construction is the latest in the fray.

With homebuyers becoming more environmentally conscious, builders are going all-out to ensure environment-friendly building materials, low-energy designs, and more.

With frameworks and certifications such as that of LEEDs continually gaining ground, sustainable dwellings go beyond just helping owners save on energy bills, they have a substantial impact on home values in the long-run.

2.   Smart Homes

Builders are increasingly making space for the integration of various smart home technologies, going beyond the already dated security cameras, biometric locks, and Nest thermostats, to even home automations enabled by the likes of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home.

Everything from entertainment systems, to the heating, cooling, lighting, and cleaning can be integrated into these systems, for a truly futuristic experience.

While these features might seem rather frivolous as of now, they can quickly become the norm. We know for a fact that true disruption is about inventing products and services that people had no idea they ever needed.

3.   Estimation & Invoicing Systems

One of the most cumbersome aspects of residential construction is the financial aspects, especially when working with a general contractor.

The lack of transparency and set standards when it comes to pricing often turns people away from custom home construction, preferring instead to buy already built homes.

Another key concern is cost-overruns, with construction projects almost always getting delayed, resulting in large variance in estimated costs. Fortunately, there have been substantial advances in the systems and tech, pertaining to the invoicing and estimations for residential construction.

Dedicated tools and services in this space bring in a lot more transparency and control for homeowners, as well as general contractors, taking out much of the friction that comes with residential construction.

4.   Flexible Floor Plans

Millennial and gen Z home buyers look for flexibility and open spaces that allow them to alter the layout of their house based on changing requirements.

This adds a lot of value for single bachelors when they get married, or for young couples when they decide to start a family, without having to hunt for a new house.

For large highrise condos, bare shell units are seemingly the future, where the builder hands over an empty space with bare essentials, and buyer designs and organizes the unit as they deem fit, with the help of external contractors and designers.

5.   Multigenerational Living Spaces

With housing prices continually on the rise, pricing out a vast majority of young professionals from the market, adult children living with their parents well into their 30s will turn into an increasingly common sight.

As a result, builders, architects and designers are opting for changes to traditional home architecture, in order to accommodate multigenerational families.

This includes separate living areas, entrances, privacy features, and more, all aimed at a comfortable, conflict-free living environment for extended multigenerational families.

6.   Modular Construction

Gone are the days when residential construction took months, or even years to complete, the new standard is weeks, if not days before your new home is ready to move-in. All of this, made possible by the tremendous advances in modular construction technology over the past decade.

Modular construction essentially involves building sections of a home at a factory, in accordance with different specifications, before being transported to the construction, in order to be assembled.

Not only does this save on labor costs, it also reduces wastage, drastically improves lead time for construction projects, while maintaining the same quality and standards as legacy construction systems. Such construction systems also make it easy to make alterations and customize living spaces given their modularity.

7.   Manufactured Housing

Going beyond modular construction, the latest trend in residential construction is manufacturing and assembly within controlled factory settings, before being transported to the site. Although this concept has been around since the 1950s, it was largely aimed at lower-income families.

This, however, is changing quickly, with many luxury dwellings for upper-middle class and upper-class houses now being manufactured, pre-fabricated, and merely assembled on-site. Concepts such as these play a critical role in the fight against rising home prices, along with homelessness, and the slew of socio-economic problems that come with the same.

This concept, when paired with 3D printing, AI, and robotics, will soon allow buyers to design their homes online, and have it delivered to the site of construction within a few short days. What a time to be alive.

Final Words

The residential construction space is evolving at an unprecedented pace. The trends, changes, and transformations we've outlined in this article barely scratch the surface given the technology-driven disruptions and innovations we've been seeing across the world in recent years.

Don't let the prices and state of the residential market get to you, because very soon, these technologies will upend the markets for good, fundamentally redefining home ownership. As such, these are undeniably exciting times to be alive.

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