We’ve all witnessed common trends in commercial construction during the COVID era, they have included elements such as:
- Plexiglass separators
- Remote working
- Fewer conference and meeting room needs, in favor of video conferencing
- More allotted space for individuals’ separation
- Individuals coming physically to work for fewer days at a time or alternating (hybrid model)
- Overall focus on individuals’ health and safety needs
Now, in the post-COVID world, many individuals are returning to the office. A lot of companies, such as Google, have found that productivity has suffered during the last couple years of heavy remote working. And now, not only are these corporations bringing people back in-house, they are “fitting out” more facilities and spaces to accommodate them and hire more. Fitting out is a construction term meaning to expand building space or update it to fit tenants’ growing needs. This can be for a landlord’s new occupants, or previous tenants who are growing or updating their requirements. Not only are commercial buildings being fitted out for tenants coming back to the office, there has obviously been a hiring boom in the post-COVID era as well.
Some of the plexiglass dividers in the post-COVID work era have come down, but many have not. A big thing retained from the COVID era in commercial buildings has been a value on health and safety in the work place. Here are items in commercial buildings and work space trending now:
- Increased space. Space overall for worker separation has been a carryover from the COVID era.
- Co-working facilities. Co-working spaces have been a growing trend since the 2010s – and they continue to grow in the post-COVID era. They offer an attractive alternative to the traditional office cube world. They have comfortable seating alternatives, coffee shops, the ability to be “around” people without requiring conversation, standing desk options, temporary and low-cost offices, attractive remote worker options, and an escape from the “home office.”
- Workplace flexibility. The co-working space revolution has bled over into more traditional commercial buildings – to attract new hires and keep current staff happy, as well as just to keep up with the current trends. This has caused many businesses and commercial buildings to fit out or expand their spaces for the increased workplace flexibility requirements inherited from the co-working space revolution.
- Sustainability. Sustainability continues to grow, as an American and global interest among consumers and companies, and doesn’t show signs of dying anytime soon. New commercial buildings are constructed with more sustainable materials, and older buildings are retrofitted to be replaced with them. Retrofitting means upgrading a building with more modern, inner and support construction materials such as, in this case, more eco-friendly elements.
- Replacement of toxic building materials. Older buildings were built with materials which did not have short-term toxic impact on residents, but did cause health concerns in the longterm. These days, those toxic building materials are being replaced with healthier materials in building retrofits or buildouts.
- Construction data and software technology. “Connected construction,” and advances in BIM (building information modeling) software, have provided more intelligent data for the construction industry than ever before, faster, and with connectivity across construction technologies to be shared with savvy construction managers and customers. These technologies continue to advance and help grow the overall construction industry.
- Evolution of materials. Construction materials continue to advance for pre-fab materials and modular construction. All of these are designed with the intent of having more construction elements which can be purchased or built off-site, and transported and finished on the construction site afterwards. This reduces costs, frees up space on the construction site, and reduces needs for labor.
- Adapting to supply chain challenges. Since the COVID era, there have been problems overall with the supply chain, causing shipping delays and materials shortages. Smart construction managers have to adapt with labor and materials at hand to solve these issues of timing and location.
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