According to Growth Opportunities in the Global Construction Industry, the next five years (2018-2023) could see the global construction industry grow to a staggering $10.5 trillion, maintaining a CAGR of 4.2%. This is no small sum.
The cause of this growth projection is the increasing demand for housing in urban areas and the current need for infrastructure revitalization. Long-term growth projections are also supported by continuing population growth. But what will future construction plans look like?
Some current construction trends include carbon footprint sensitive green structures, lock-up devices to improve structural longevity in new builds, and the use of fiber composites to reinforce older infrastructure.
Currently, four of the most common metals used in construction are copper, stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum. As technology progresses in the field of material engineering, this might change drastically.
There’s substantial research to support graphene as an eventual replacement and definite supplement for structural steels in the construction industry. But what is this stuff, and why does it matter?
“Graphene is a single layer of tightly packed carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice. It’s incredibly thin – at just one atom thick, it’s the strongest compound ever discovered.”- National Building Specification (NBS)
This material is talked about as being 200 times stronger than steel, making it a big deal if full adoption ever occurs. The current issue under investigation is that graphene is extremely brittle when not used together with a supporting material. Once the construction industry figures this out, though, $10.5 trillion will seem like a drop in the bucket.
Reflecting on the current state of the industry, the projection certainly makes sense. One of the most niche sub-industries within the construction umbrella, industrial brakes and clutches, is projected to be worth $1.7 billion within ten years. A market cap that high for literally only two products goes to show just how large the global construction industry is today, and how much room it yet has to grow over the coming years.
Whether new materials like graphene take construction one step further or our seemingly endless need to colonize the planet is enough on its own, the five-year outlook for construction is strong, to say the least.