Some major trends in construction and real estate to watch out for in 2021

– By Prof. Dr Sanjay Govind Patil, Associate Dean & Director, School of Construction, RICS SBE Mumbai

For the last ten to eleven months the world is suffering from Covid-19 pandemic which created global health crises of our time. This impacted each end every sector in terms of operations and economy and real estate and construction sector is no exception. We could hear that every business sector has come out their response plan to deal with this situation in terms of retention and protection of enough numbers of experienced and motivated staff and challenges faced in recruitment and deployment to take the new challenges. Some of them are successful, however some are not.

Working from home became a new normal which has an impact on relationship and office atmosphere which is must for some businesses. Although many say this is going to be temporary phenomena, however I personally believe that pandemic situation has created new trends which is going to be there forever. Here are some of the major trend in construction and real estate sector to watch out for 2021 which is going to create additional jobs demanding new skill sets.

Health and safety at construction site

Every organisation has stringent health and safety policy in place, however in coming years the organisations need to bring in new amendments to tackle health and safety issues arising from current pandemic. Social distancing will be the priority along with frequent sanitisation of the working spaces, tools and equipment’s. Organisations will look for people who will bring in new innovative ideas to monitor and maintain health and safety at construction sites. In 2021, you will observe new trends in monitoring and controlling health
and safety issues at construction site and workplaces. Wearable tools along with sensors are available in the market which could track the locations and other health conditions of team members to address above mentioned challenges. Health and safety officer, safety managers and safety engineers will be in demand to develop standards and maintain workers safety at site for more productivity and smooth functioning of the organisation.

Offsite construction

Offsite construction is becoming popular day by day, research done on offsite construction reveals that it completes projects 30 to 40 percent faster, with better quality, reduces health and safety issues and saves around 15 percent of construction cost. Offsite construction is a solution in case of shortage and availability of skilled labours and adopted in many countries for the same reason. I personally believe that the present situation will make offsite construction as a new trend and make more & more popular in coming days. Organisations will look for professionals with offsite construction skill sets and creates more job in 2021.

Lean & green construction

There is a good demand for lean construction practices and green building market around the globe, nowadays clients are looking for buildings which are environmentally friendly, energy efficient and operationally cost effective. It is believed that green certified buildings
save around 35 percent of energy and 20 percent of water consumption compared to conventional buildings. A recent market study on home buyers reveals that around 20 percent of home buyers are enquiring and checking if the project has any green certification. It is also predicted that the Indian green buildings market is expected to double and may reach ten billion square feet by 2022. New trends in lean construction practices and green building concept will grow in coming years and more employment will be generated in this area.

Embracing technology

As reported by McKinsey Global Institute if we adopt disruptive technologies with slow pace, by 2030 ten million workforces will lose their job whereas the numbers are 800 million when adopted with fast pace. They also revealed that 75 million workforces need to change occupational category if the technology adoption goes with medium pace. I personally believe that the present situation will force organisation to adopt these disruptive technologies at medium pace which will disrupt the job market and new trends will be seen in adopting following technologies in coming years.

  • Automated Construction Equipment’s

It is revealed that companies working with automated construction equipment’s delivering projects with high quality, precision, completing within time and cost effective. We will soon see such machine use on construction sites in 2021.

  • Internet of Things

Internet of things (IoT) are slowly becoming popular in construction industry globally. We are witnessing a new trend of connecting equipment’s, materials and machines to IoT. Such technologies will create new job market in 2021 for construction and real estate sector professional. These professional need to analyse and maximize efficiency of machines by taking information from one machine to another and to provide better safety at site in 2021 organisations will look for workforce having such skill sets.

  • Drone Technology

The new emerging trend we will see in coming years is the extensive use of drone technology for better visibility of construction sites. They will be be used for various activities, such as building surveys, construction site inspection, health and safety induction, maintenance inspection, project progress report, promotional photography, live feed and virtual walk around, site logistics, thermal imaging recordings are few to mention. I believe that along with domain knowledge organisations will look for professional having additional skills in collecting data using drone technology and processing the data using various software’s to extract features for the smooth functioning of the projects.

  • Cloud based BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming popular and the usage of it is made compulsory in some countries. In India this technology is slowly becoming prevalent. The recent trend is seen that with the advent of cloud-based software BIM is becoming more accessible rather than confined to on-premise installation. This gives advantage to users to extract information in all construction phases in real-time mode.

  • 3D Printed Materials

3D printed materials are widely used in construction industry along with prefabricated one. These materials are used wherein more precise finish are required and saves time in executing the work. 3D printed materials are going to be most popular trend in 2021 due to shortage of labours on site.

  • Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is widely used as predictive model in construction and real estate sector. Artificial intelligence models are becoming more popular as it helps in construction managers and engineers to determine the time frame of the projects, budget forecast, risk
assessment and even gives solutions related to health and safety. With digitisation of data transactions, capital deployment, property management and the consumption patterns could be predicted using AI. These trends will be more popular in coming years.

Supply Chain Management

Due to COVID-19 entire supply chain is disrupted and has adversely impacted the sector Construction sector must look for alternative suppliers and the countries which are not impacted by major supply chain disruption. A new trend will be seen in 2021 that the construction and real estate sector will look for indigenous material and develop new supply chains and strategies.

Resilient cities

COVID-19 has taught us many lessons on how our cities need to be designed. We could notice that our current cities are having inadequate social and physical infrastructure. We could also notice that there is lack of coordination between various authorities, lack of open spaces, ineffective resource management in affected areas and so on. I personally believe that the present crises will result in need of substantial adjustments in how we shape, administer and live in cities and designing resilient cities are to be new trend in coming years.

New trends among home buyers

The current pandemic has opened lot of opportunities for developers. Home buyers has understood the necessity of home. People realised that they will be safe and secure if they have their own house. Hence, would now prefer to buy homes soon. A new trend will be seen in 2021 that the home buying will be important over the place of work and influence urban development and real estate choices.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, and opinions of EducationWorld.

Also read: 5 tips to build a career in Built Environment industry in the new age of job industry

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