Top Four Construction Trends

As certain areas in the country, including Northern Ca have moved into a housing and commercial facility boom, everyone wonders what the top trends are that will help keep their businesses ahead of the pack for the rest of 2015 and 2016. Here’s what a leading prognosticator has to say.

  1. More commercial contracts will be green.

Green building is trendy and cost-effective. In fact, according to McGraw Hill Construction, up to 48% of new nonresidential construction projects will be green. That’s a $145 billion opportunity for construction firms. Additionally, the call to continue greening existing buildings will only continue to rise. And while there’s skepticism that LEED will keep dominating the green space, many firms will turn to green construction management software to help please their eco-conscious customers.

  1. Construction companies will continue ditching paper.

Paper is so 2010. Many companies are already switching over to construction management software with document management capabilities—saving some companies up to $5,000 a year. With more construction managers choosing to write, process, and submit their RFDs, project updates, applications, LEED forms, invoices, and contracts online, even smaller remodeling companies will start making the switch.

  1. Mobile apps with geo-fencing will boom in popularity.

A geo-fence is a virtual barrier. It uses GPS to track where an object (like a cell phone) is. With so many contractors relying on time-tracking software to figure out what to pay whom, geo-fencing applications are particularly helpful—with applications like Timesheet Mobile, setting geo-fencing parameters can help construction managers better manage their payroll as the system will log when an employee is on- or off-site, without manually having to add hours. There are lots of construction-specific mobile apps that provide this service, like Red-Trac and Labor Sync, but expect this trend to grow ever more popular over the coming year.

  1. 3D printing will make its way onto more construction sites.

3D printing: it’s flashy, it’s newsy, and it’s the future of the construction industry. With more commercial firms focusing in on green construction, cost-conscious managers will continue turning to this tool. In fact, according to Gartner, worldwide shipments of 3D printers will increase 101% (from 108,151 to 217,350 units) over 2015 alone. That said, construction is notoriously a conservative industry when it comes to technical innovation. Constructech warns, “3D printing probably will not infiltrate the core of the industry until it has been tested and proven in other industries.” With that said, the construction industry will likely mass-adopt 3D printers before the end of this decade.

So get your FSC providers lined up (like All Truss!). Improve your use of technology including construction management software and applications that will help you maximize your valuable team member’s time!

Rachel Burger of Capterra

Home Prices

In the early stages of a building boom? Information available now points to a resounding YES!

According to Zillow, the real estate website, which forecasts home values all the way down to ZIP code by looking at macroeconomic factors such as unemployment, mortgage rates, construction costs and land availability, then looks at what prices are likely to do based on what they are doing today.

Zillow predicts that home values will be higher in June 2016 than they were this June in all nine Bay Area counties, with increases ranging from 1.5 percent in Sonoma to 6.8 percent in San Mateo.

Jerry Nickelsburg, an economics professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, predicts that Bay Area prices will be going up for a simple reason. “Home demand depends on household formation,” which includes people moving to the Bay Area, kids moving out of their parents’ house, and roommates moving into their own homes. “You have had very rapid job and income growth. That fueled demand for housing, but you have not had much increase in the stock of housing. That gives you better home prices.”

Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at UC Berkeley, said he thinks real estate prices may “slow substantially” in 2016, but will still be positive. In June, prices in Bay Area counties were up 10 to 20 percent over the previous years. “The three things that are causing this – the huge increase in jobs, the supply shortage, and very low interest rates” will all begin to change in 2016. He sees mortgage rates going up half a percent, job growth slowing, and inventory growing. A year from now, he predicts prices will be 7 percent higher in the East Bay and 9 percent higher in San Francisco.

The boom in building permits in most Bay Area counties is one factor that will slow price increases by bringing more inventory onto the market.

Both agents and buyers report strong demand for homes in Sonoma County this year. One main reason is that Sonoma county still lacks a meaningful supply of newly built homes. Local governments issued just 251 permits for new single-family homes in the county in 2014, the lowest level in at least 45 years-which is about a seventh of the historical em and for the average of the two decades preceding the economic downturn.

The “wet utility” work at the corner of Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Hill Road is in preparation for a housing subdivision and the first single-family homes to be built in Sonoma County’s third-largest city in at least 15 years. In Rohnert Park, developers are taking advantage of a more favorable economy and an enviable amount of undeveloped land within the city’s urban growth boundary to kick-start new construction.

“The city of Rohnert Park is where the action is,” said Keith Woods, executive director of the North Bay Builders Exchange.

All told, 4,350 housing units ranging from single-family homes to apartments have cleared at least the first stage of the city’s approval process.

Were every housing unit to be built, the city’s population of 43,000 could swell by 25 percent, or nearly 11,000 people. Already, the transient population has ballooned due to an influx of construction workers from around the region.

Meanwhile, San Francisco supervisor London Breed says, ‘There’s a lot of building happening, and we certainly need to make sure we have all the resources in place to ensure they’re safe.’

Part of that uptick stems from the increased number of big multimillion-dollar projects in the city, including massive residential and office towers downtown. There were nearly 60 major projects in the city several years ago, city officials say, and more than 250 today.

Readers can find Zillow’s forecast by going to Under Additional Data Products, click on Data next to the line labeled Zillow Home Value Forecast an you will get a spreadsheet with Zillow’s price forecast for every metro area, city, and ZIP code.

Buyers and sellers can track local trends on Redfin, a real estate website and brokerage, at



Kathleen Pender; San Francisco Chronicle; August 4, 2015

Robert Digitale; The Press Democrat; April 11, 2015

Ted Goldberg; KQED News; January 12, 2015