Open plan design, bike racks and shower/ change room facilities are trends with proven productivity improvements. While these features are in the process of getting mainstreamed, The Dragon Group predicts the following trends in 2017:

1. Construction becomes technology

While this is true for many industries, construction has been a late-bloomer.

Most job sites still rely on workers keeping their job sheet for a week, through muddy sites, rainfall and concrete pours. And at the end, it must be clear and legible, and carry the site manager’s signature. This can only be described as an archaic system.

PWC tells us in their 2016 Engineering & Construction report: "... as a reaction to tight margins, a few construction companies have recently automated and streamlined ways to carry out projects, not just in the design and engineering phase, but in construction as well."

For example, Dragon Labour Hire Group has invested considerable money as a small business by providing their labourers and clients alike, a stress-free electronic, digital timesheet.

2. Permanent modular construction

The Urban Developers' 5-New Trends in Construction 2017 report informs us: "Permanent modular construction is set to become a huge trend in coming years, providing quick and efficient construction methods while using many of the same techniques as commercial development but on a residential scale. With the ‘boxes’ being constructed mainly offsite, it allows buildings to be added onto later."

These structures consist of multiple sections called modules, built in an offsite location and then transported to their intended site. Cranes then place the construction onto its foundations.

With the 'Internet of Things' affecting just about every industry, it allows for rapid growth, globalisation, and necessity.

3. Pre-fab construction

As builders and all key stakeholders within the construction industry grapple with increased pressure to maintain efficiency amid building delays and unpredictable weather events, one particular construction method is gaining momentum – pre-fab construction.

Prefabricated construction means a lot of the building can be conducted in more of a controlled environment, rather than on a construction site, increasing productivity and minimising risk.

Major Australian developers including Australand, Hickory, and Lend Lease have already implemented these efficiencies in certain parts of their supply chain. Lend Lease’s recently finished Forte apartments in Melbourne were mostly completed in a factory.

4. The skills shortage

Not exactly a new trend, but it continues to plague most Australian businesses in 2017. Finding qualified tradespeople and labourers is as costly as it is competitive. In Sydney, demand for these skills most certainly outstrips supply.

Many businesses are resorting to looking overseas. European countries such as Ireland, Poland, and Britain can be excellent places to find hard-working tradespeople, dying for a sea change.

With the Australian Government having extended the age to obtain a working holiday visa to 35 years, it's easier than it has been for a long time to attract skilled labourers and tradespeople wanting to come to Australia.

Written by Matt Jones, Managing Director of The Dragon Group – Sydney