The construction industry has changed dramatically in the past 12 months.
In September of 2022, residential building just began to level out after a 2020-2021 boom.
The construction trade continues to recover from the increased material costs and labor force issues that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these material and labor costs, commercial real estate – particularly multi-family housing – continues to lead the real estate sector in 2022.
As the industry continues to fluctuate, new trends are taking the market by storm. In this guide, we’ll explore seven construction trends to be aware of in 2023 so you can be prepared to meet your client's changing needs and expectations.
A look ahead at the 2023 construction industry
Before we dive into the list of construction trends, it’s important to be aware of the market factors that are most likely to impact your construction business in the new year:
- Inflation within the United States may continue to impact aspects of your balance sheet—construction materials costs will continue to rise, your employees could seek raises to keep up with high living costs, and clients will likely keep looking for construction partners who offer the best value.
- Supply chain challenges have been a reality since mid-2020, but geopolitical events (especially those impacting crude oil costs) may continue to impact material availability and price.
- The workforce, especially the construction sector, is changing—as the priorities of construction workers shift, your business will have to adapt to growing wage and workplace culture demands as you recruit new talent. It is important to pay attention to and address these changes so as to avoid issues such as a labor shortage.
As you prepare to navigate the trends below, remember that all three of the elements above will still impact nearly every element of your business in 2023.
7 Construction trends to incorporate into your next project
Whether you’re a contractor or own a construction business, you should expect your clients’ requests and tastes to adjust to changing trends. Let’s break down seven construction crazes to be aware of, and help you prepare to address them in your upcoming contracts.
1. Going green
The climate is changing, and today’s consumers have concerns about their personal impacts on the environment—between 66 and 80% of Americans support climate change mitigation policies at the legislative level.
As a business owner, expect your clients to ask about green building options. Here are three elements of eco-friendly building that you should be aware of:
Green building features
Environmentally conscious clients may ask questions about the eco-friendliness of physical aspects of their buildings, like:
- Window and glass placement, and its impact on energy efficiency
- The overall efficiency of their appliances and building systems
- How easily they can incorporate green living practices into their spaces, including:
- Greywater/rainwater collection and reuse
The best way to address these concerns is to establish your clients’ expectations and build spaces that reflect their needs. For instance, if a client wants to be able to collect recycling easily in their new space, perhaps they’d benefit from dedicated recycling waste chutes or additional trash can storage.
Customers will continue to pay close attention to their life-cycle energy costs in the coming years. Why?
- They know that increased efficiency can decrease their carbon footprint.
- Energy costs are skyrocketing as crude oil prices increase, and clients are preparing for a future where electricity is expensive.
As a result, expect clients to care both about the baseline efficiency of their appliances and building systems and their life-cycle energy costs. Prepare to field questions like:
- “How long will this appliance/system continue to operate at peak efficiency?”
- “What can I do to keep this appliance/system running efficiently?”
- “How easy will it be to replace this appliance/system when a more efficient model hits the market?”
Green materials sourcing
Now more than ever, consumers care about materials sourcing and how the materials used in their next project will impact the environment. And that concern has broad impacts—experts expect the green building materials market to grow by 12% between 2023 and 2030.
As you sign new contracts with clients, expect them to ask where the materials for their project are coming from, how procurement impacts the environment, and how green the materials themselves are.
Since consumers are showing increasing concern for green materials sourcing, consider learning more about eco-friendly sourcing and adding these tactics to your marketing and sales materials. You could reap the benefits of increased cultural awareness of sustainability and green materials sourcing.
2. High-tech building
As new technologies appear on the market, high-tech solutions are only becoming more accessible to everyday consumers. This is particularly true for solutions that increase the quality of life, improve productivity, and ease some tedious aspects of everyday life.
As you draw up new plans, prepare for clients to ask about:
- Home automation features
- Voice-controlled systems and elements, like:
- Security systems
- Door and window locks
- Smart thermostats
- Programmable and color-changing lights
Whether customers wish to control their homes’ systems via voice command, remote controls, mobile apps, or wall-mounted tablets, be prepared to answer their questions about high-tech building.
3. Low-maintenance landscaping
Low-maintenance landscaping continues to dominate the building trade, with more and more clients asking for landscaping with low watering requirements, limited trimming needs, and drought resistance.
With ongoing environmental concerns and the rising costs of building materials and utilities that are predicted to continue into the new year, start developing low-maintenance landscaping solutions before a client asks about them.
Not sure where to start? Consider:
- Partnering with a local landscaping business or landscape architecture company to prepare a few pre-made, low-maintenance landscaping plans
- Consulting your local extension office for free (or low-cost) advice on landscaping with native or low-maintenance plants
- Partnering with a nursery that stocks primarily drought-resistant or low-water plants, or a hardscape supplier who can offer the best pricing on gravel, pavers, and mulch
According to a 2020 survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), 80% of pet parents view their fluffy companions as family members, and experts estimate that up to 65% of US households currently have pets—a record high.
Whether you build residential or commercial properties, expect clients to ask for pet-friendly designs, including features like:
- Built-in pet bed areas
- Indoor enclosures or spaces to assemble crates or pet gates
- Dog/cat doors for easy outdoor access
- Higher countertops to prevent food-stealing
- Framed shelves or niches for cats to perch on
5. Hybrid workspaces
Given the broad changes happening in where people work, it’s vital for construction businesses to consider how new builds can benefit those who work from home or have a hybrid schedule—as well as how the needs of corporate customers might shift. In a survey of more than 140,000 US businesses, Gallup determined that:
- 24% of brands expect to employ a majority remote staff in the future
- 53% of companies will keep a hybrid work model going forward
- Only 23% of businesses expect to run fully on-site workplaces after 2022
While your construction business is likely in one of the latter two categories, you should expect changes in both residential and commercial building design in the coming year and beyond. This might look like:
- Increased priority for at-home workspaces, like home offices or desk areas in shared spaces.
- Decreased square footage for group working spaces in office buildings—areas that used to be occupied by cubicles or individual workstations.
- Increased hybrid-friendly meeting spaces, like conference rooms with permanently-wired microphones, speakers, and monitors.
6. Indoor gardening
66% of consumers have at least one houseplant. ? Even if you haven’t bought into houseplant fever, the future of indoor gardening is bright, and consumers will likely continue to add greenery to their interior spaces.
Expect building clients (both residential and commercial) to ask about:
- Built-in plant walls
- Indoor plant accouterments, like
- Hooks for hanging plants
- Grow lights or skylights
- Plant air purification and other plant-related air quality technologies
This is another area where a landscape architect, extension office expert, or interior designer may be of assistance. Don’t be afraid to partner with other local businesses that offer plant expertise as you plan for new contracts in the coming year.
7. Celeb-inspired interiors
With the continued meteoric rise of celebrity interior designers like the Gaineses and McGees—and home organization aficionados like Marie Kondo and The Home Edit’s Clea and Joanna—expect clients to draw inspiration from the interiors designed or owned by influencers and public figures.
The days of magazine-based design inspiration aren’t over, but this age-old industry is certainly being challenged by social media and streaming services’ investment in design-related content. But, instead of becoming a part-time interior designer yourself, we recommend partnering with a local expert to help your clients develop spaces they love.
Find your next client with Nextdoor
Even if these trends haven’t influenced your business yet, the best time to start planning for industry shifts, market changes, and emerging construction trends is now. Knowing what will shape your business in the next 12 months can help you stay a step ahead of your competition and even help you build a successful general contractor business plan.
- Post updates and exciting company news to your followers and the community
- Connect one-on-one with past, present, and future clients
- Share special offers and promotions with paid ads
Your neighbors want to shop locally—so help them reach your business by claiming your Nextdoor Business Page today.