It’s not news that 2020 has been turbulent for the construction industry, as it has for all of Australia. After a year with major bushfires and then the coronavirus pandemic, it’s fair to say that many Aussies will be especially looking forward to the chance to turn a new leaf over on January 1st.
At the time of writing — while a new outbreak is unfortunately always possible — Australia has by and large driven coronavirus cases down to near-zero, and it’s expected that a vaccine (which has already begun rolling out overseas) will soon be available on our shores.
So there are many reasons to be optimistic about 2021 and to look forward to the opportunity for construction workers to get back on the tools, and even make up for lost time! That said, there’s no question that the events of 2020 will create a long-lasting impact on the construction industry.
Here are 4 of the top construction industry trends for 2021:
1. The Rise of Rural Cities
For many years, the concept of working from home was far from a reality for most people. It was expected that ‘one day’ more people would do it, but it was relatively uncommon, even if lots of Aussies theoretically could do their jobs remotely.
A byproduct of the pandemic was that the work-from-home concept got a massive ‘trial run’, and it’s now expected that many will continue working from home after the pandemic ends. This is likely to result in a large increase in the number of Aussies shifting out of capital cities to well-established rural cities, where homes are more affordable and the appeal of a more laid-back lifestyle entices families. As a result, a big uptick in new homes and developments in rural cities can be anticipated.
2. Seamless Blending of Inside/Outside Design
For anyone moving to a rural area, odds are good of snagging a decent backyard along with a free standing home. For those living in other locales like the inner-city, the prospect of a quarter acre block attached to an apartment is essentially non-existent.
Nonetheless, it’s expected that home designs will now incorporate the inside and outside boundaries of the property more substantially. This will undoubtedly change the way that new constructions are built — instead of solid walls, there will be an increase in elaborate windows and other elements to provide a seamless transition between the inside and outside — and it also represents a very exciting new design trend.
3. Multipurpose Rooms
Although the work from home trend will inform home design for the foreseeable future, it’s also clear that the way in which we use our spaces is changing as our families grow. In the past, it may have felt unavoidable for parents to get the ‘empty nest’ feeling in a 3-bedroom home after their kids had moved out.
Today, thanks to rooms that are designed with sliding walls and other flexible features, it’s possible to easily convert a former bedroom into an additional living space. The reverse also applies, as a young and growing family can buy a home with room to spare, knowing that it’s easy to convert the dining room or study into another bedroom as the family expands.
4. Built-in Antibacterial Materials
Even though a coronavirus vaccine will hopefully put an end to this pandemic, the swift and substantial change the pandemic has caused to the way we live our lives will have an ongoing impact on health precautions.
Just as the pandemic has led to predictions that the traditional handshake is now a thing of the past, it’s expected that many new home designs will include materials with antibacterial properties, as well as features like touchless bathroom taps that will make hygiene a big selling point of home designs moving forward.
The Building Blocks for 2021
It’s important to note that given the amount of uncertainty surrounding the fallout of pandemic, some of the trends mentioned here may play out differently than expected. For example, many Aussies who spent time during lockdown in inner-city apartments are starting to entertain a longer commute if it means they can come home to a spacious backyard. But if a vaccine does roll out fast in the new year, many people will understandably be tempted to revert to a pre-corona life, and put off any plan for a relocation.
In addition, there will surely be a number of new and unexpected developments that will unfold in the months ahead. Although this uncertainty can understandably make some nervous — especially given that 2020 saw $1.12 billion wiped off the construction sector in the June quarter — it’s important to remember that 2021 is set to be a very exciting time of new growth and new opportunities in the construction industry.
For anyone who has been longing for a chance to build new skills and gain new experiences in the sector, 2021 represents a rare and incredible opportunity to do so across the industry and the nation. That’s plenty of reason to be positive about the construction sector in 2021.
What other construction industry trends do you expect to see in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.