How market researchers see the construction sector
In the past decades there have been incredibly fast changes in construction. New materials and new technical achievements allow completely new designs and forms. Future researchers agree that the international megatrends of “urbanisation”, “demography”, “mobility”, “energy”, “resources” and “individualisation” will substantially change our product world, our cities, our communication and therefore also the challenges for the construction sector. The more familiar we are with these aspects, the better we will be able to develop dynamic processes. The general atmosphere among architects in this respect serves market researchers as a foreshadowing indicator for future developments in the construction sector.
In construction, the goal is always to improve on the status quo and to equip buildings for the future – because they are used for an average of up to about 100 years. Buildings that are planned today will be completed in two years at the earliest and possibly will affect the lives of people in the next three generations. Regardless of whether construction projects involve higher-level urban planning, new structures or renovation of existing buildings, it is always the task of architects and planners to know today exactly what the future will hold. Buildings and structures must be flexible in order to adapt to the future social changes as well as economic and ecological developments. But what exactly will these challenges of the future be like? Which parameters will affect construction? International market researchers are attempting to follow these trends in the greatest detail possible.
The more familiar architects and planners are with these future aspects, the better equipped they are to prepare today already for the challenges of the future. International market research agencies provide information on the current situation and on trends and economic developments in different countries. We have summarised some of the latest findings from the construction sector for you*:
(*All of the following information is based on summaries from the European Architectural Barometer, Arch-Vision (www.arch-vision.eu))
Development of the construction sector in Europe
In several European countries, the construction sector has been shaken in recent years. Especially in Italy, Spain and France, no improvement is expected for the year 2015. According to forecasts the construction sector in Spain will recover in 2016, while Italy and France are not expected to pull out of the crisis until 2017. The strongest improvements in the construction sector in the next two years are expected for Great Britain and Poland, followed by Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Energy-efficient technologies that appeared on the market in recent years, such as solutions for heat recovery, heat pumps, LED lighting and photovoltaics, some of which were slow in gaining acceptance, will increasingly penetrate the market in the coming years. Driving forces for this development and for other innovations to follow in the sanitary/heating/air condition industry are the requirements for energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. European architects expect major changes in the next five years especially in the area of heating technology, with the focus on an increase in the installation of heat pumps and systems for heat recovery. In Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Poland the use of underfloor heating will also increase. Another trend is already emerging in the Netherlands, where the increased use of underfloor cooling is expected.
System suppliers preferred
Offers that make life and work easier are well received – such as complete solutions offered by the manufacturers of construction materials and products. According to a recent survey in September 2014, architects from eight European countries indicated that they preferred manufacturers with complete solutions over those with single products. Especially surprising is the increase of this preference in Great Britain, Spain and Poland, for example, by nearly 20 percent compared to last year. This trend is expected to continue in all countries in the coming years. The manufacturers are already preparing for the development through the increased marketing of complete solutions.
Market trend 3D printing
It sounds like pie in the sky, but it is reality: printed houses. Especially China, the USA and the Netherlands are pioneers in the development of buildings from 3D printers. One Chinese company already claimed early in 2014 to have printed entire houses within 24 hours. The relatively small, one-storey houses were manufactured from recycled construction materials and it costs less than 5,000 dollars to print them. Even if these houses were not absolutely convincing solutions, architects nevertheless expect that the new 3D technology will have a significant influence on the construction industry in the future. Manufacturers of construction products are already conducting research on concepts for the use of this new technology.