Constant trend developments mean industries are always changing the ways they operate, with building and construction being one of the most adaptable and resilient industries in Australia. In 2022, we can start to look beyond the initial impact of COVID-19 and find out what lies ahead for this industry.
We outline the core building and construction trends for 2022 below:
Be prepared for new technology
Technology is an influential part of any construction project. Improved technology can assist with speed, efficiency, workload and accuracy. Those who do not adapt to advancements can become uncompetitive in the marketplace. As a result, building and construction companies need to keep themselves armed with the best equipment for the job.
One example is 3D printing, which has been used in construction for a few years now. In the last few years, we saw a boom in the printing of materials like chipboard as an easy and cost-effective solution to production. Should this trend continue, it will impact the building and construction industry, in terms of where materials are sourced, the sustainability of materials used, as well as production cost. Investing in the machines that can create the product rather than having to buy the product itself may be a more cost-effective way to manufacture supplies.
Artificial Intelligence is another trend that we will see more of into 2022 and beyond. It can be used in a multitude of ways to improve productivity, efficiency and even safety.
The drive for women in construction
Currently, only 2% of the population of construction workers are women. The Victorian government is leading Australian policy by taking steps to increase women’s representation in building and construction. The ‘Building Gender Equality: Victoria’s Women in Construction Strategy 2019-2022’ is overseen by The Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC). The BICC acts as a forum for dialogue between government, employers, industry associations and unions on significant issues affecting the building and construction industry. The Strategy was developed after extensive research and consultation with people in the construction industry, who are eager to contribute to the BICC’s initiative.
In implementing the strategy, the Victorian Government has announced 2022 policy changes that require women to make up at least 3% of trade roles, 7% of non-trade positions and 35% of management, supervisor or specialist labour roles in government projects worth $20 million or more.
In the last two decades, the number of women in trades has doubled and this is tipped to continue to grow. There is currently a significant push from within the industry to focus on encouraging women to pursue a career in building and construction. The 2022 Sydney Build Expo has dedicated an entire panel to gender diversity, naming it the “Women in Construction Summit”. The panel agenda includes topics like:
- Empowering women in construction
- Building Women, not just Houses
- Breaking through the glass ceiling – how can women reach senior and board positions within the construction industry?
- Celebrating the success of women in construction
- How can we encourage young girls to consider a career in construction?
Summits like this inspire the confidence of women in the industry, as well as younger women who are considering starting their career path. These panels aim to encourage gender diversity within the industry and create an equal workplace for men and women.
Sustainability is smart and unavoidable
An increase in climate action sentiment in Australia is forcing companies to reconsider their practices in the workplace. Consumers are also leading the way, demanding environmentally friendly buildings and sustainable building materials.
Here are three easy ways to ensure you remain sustainable in building and construction:
Better waste management
Waste management is an unavoidable part of the building and construction industry. The good news is there are many simple changes companies can make to construction sites that will add a green light to operations.
The first of these is to segregate waste by implementing a dedicated waste section on-site with clearly labelled and colour-coded bins, skips or bags. Training staff and contractors to use the system is the next step. A team that knows how to manage waste effectively will save costs for those projects that are currently hiring a specialised team to do this task.
Another waste management practice that has twofold positive effects is to deconstruct instead of demolishing. Demolition is a messy, polluting procedure that has far less long-term gain than precise deconstruction. Deconstruction allows for a safe environment and a high potential to reuse or sell recycled materials in the process.
Renewable and efficient energy use
2022 will be a big year for renewable and efficient energy use within houses. The Victorian Government’s minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties and $797 million clean power package lead the way for further change. Half of this money is dedicated to replacing old heaters with energy-efficient units.
Solar power will continue to be in demand as clients look to incorporate this into new or existing builds. Currently, one in four houses in Australia have installed small-scale rooftop solar. With many panels now reaching their end of life, Australia opened their first solar panel recycling plant in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in 2021, soon to be followed by a second in Adelaide in 2022. RMIT and the University of Melbourne have partnered with a manufacturing group to create a solar panel upcycling plant funded by a federal government grant.
Source sustainable materials
Sourcing sustainable materials is an easy way to keep a construction site on an ethical footing for only a small increase in cost. Be sure to research and support businesses and are not causing deforestation and are reducing emissions. As mentioned above, reusing materials is another effective way to resource sustainably.
The good news Federal budget
Due to the effects of COVID-19, the recent budgets have looked very different from what anyone had been anticipating, but that doesn’t mean it was necessarily all bad news.
The government has previously announced an additional $14 billion over the next four years to support new and accelerated infrastructure projects. It is the government’s hope that this will lead the way in creating 40,000 jobs during the construction of these projects. This initiative is part of a 10-year transport infrastructure investment that has increased to $110 billion.
Residential construction will also benefit from the recent budget announcements. The main benefits include:
- The creation of a tax-free grant worth $25,000 for eligible owner-occupiers looking to build a new home
- 10,000 additional places added to the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme for first home buyers looking to build or buy a newly built home
- The effects of these measures are estimated to generate over $1.5 billion in economic activity
The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept historically low-interest rates on hold, meaning there is likely to be continued demand for affordable housing or house and land packages.
What can you take from these 2022 trends?
While 2021 was not the year any of us expected, there is good news ahead as we move into 2022. Due to delays caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, there will be increased demand for works that were put on hold to resume again. In late 2021, building approvals had already risen 8.4%1, from this we can expect new jobs to be created.
Not only that, but we are likely to see more innovative ways to work and new design elements. Whether it’s new ways to incorporate materials or the importance of sustainability within the industry, these changes are optimistic as we move forward. For women looking to get into the industry, the time has never been better with a continued focus on encouraging diversity.
With an emphasis still on attracting young people into the industry, now is an exciting time to be a young Australian who is interested in building and construction. Likewise, the need for project managers and good communicators makes this industry a smart choice for the career savvy professional looking to make a change. An online Diploma of Project Management (specialising in Construction) (BSB50820) is the best place to start, designed for those wanting to move into senior construction project management positions. Once you’re there, an online Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC50320) will set you up to pursue opportunities in managing multi-million-dollar construction projects, running your own successful trades business and more.
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