13 Construction Trends in Texas for 2018

Con­struc­tion trends in Texas for 2018 promise welcome advance­ments in building methods and materials that create sus­tain­able, durable, and healthy buildings. Builders and archi­tects are embracing these trends even as they grapple with increas­ing con­struc­tion and labor costs. Con­struc­tion in the United States is expected to grow nearly 5 percent in 2018, slightly higher than in 2017. In the South, there is a fore­cast­ed con­struc­tion growth of 6 percent. The State predicted to have the strongest con­struc­tion growth is Texas at 10 percent. These thirteen con­struc­tion trends in Texas for 2018 fall generally under the headings of resilience, energy-effi­cien­cy, safety, health, tech­nol­o­gy, and increas­ing con­struc­tion costs.

Resilient Construction Design Trends

The dev­as­tat­ing hurricane season of 2017 has put storm-resistant building design at the top of the list of 2018 con­struc­tion trends in Texas. Hurricane Harvey alone caused $180 billion in damage in the state. Specif­i­cal­ly, Harvey damaged 203,000 homes, destroy­ing 12,700 of those. In addition, Texas ranks first as the State with the highest annual average number of tornadoes between the years of 1991 and 2015. Two important 2018 con­struc­tion trends in Texas are flood- and wind-resilient construction.

1. Flood-Resistant Building Design

Building a flood-resistant structure, par­tic­u­lar­ly in flood hazard zones, is an important con­struc­tion trend in Texas for 2018. This is espe­cial­ly true for Houston and East Texas residents who are faced with stag­ger­ing rebuild­ing costs after Hurricane Harvey. Flood-resistant buildings protect against flooding from both tides and storm surges and excessive rain. Also, the design of a structure built in a flood hazard zone must be according to the American Society of Civil Engineers 24 (ASCE 24). Flood-resistant design should include elevated struc­tures, materials that can get wet, and design assem­blies that easily dry when exposed to moisture. Flood and water-resistant design in flood hazard zones are essential in pro­tect­ing a structure and the occupants during a hurricane event.

2. Wind Resistance Design

Building a wind-resistant structure, with a con­tin­u­ous load path, is an important con­struc­tion trend in Texas for 2018. A con­tin­u­ous load path is crucial to holding a building together, par­tic­u­lar­ly during the high winds of a hurricane. A con­tin­u­ous load path makes sure that when a load, including lateral (hor­i­zon­tal) and uplift loads, attacks a building, the load will move from the roof, wall and other com­po­nents to the foun­da­tion and into the ground. A strong con­tin­u­ous load path is essential to holding the roof, walls, floors, and foun­da­tion together during a hurricane.

The Bautex Wall System provides the resilience and strength to resist heavy winds and flying debris from winds caused by even the strongest hur­ri­canes like Harvey. The Bautex Wall System meet the Federal Emergency Man­age­ment Agency FEMA 361 and FEMA 320 rec­om­men­da­tion in storm zones with wind speeds of 250 miles per hour. The Bautex Block also has the strength and mass to resist the impact of wind-driven debris trav­el­ling at speeds more than 100 mph. Bautex Walls are an excellent choice for storm-resistant construction.

3. Fire-Resistant Design

After one of the worst U.S. wildfire seasons in years, fire-resistant con­struc­tion is trending in Texas for 2018. In fact, in 2016, according to the National Fire Pro­tec­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, there were 1,342,000 fires in the United States. These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries, and $10.6 billion in property damage.

A superb option for fire-resistant con­struc­tion is Bautex Blocks. Bautex Blocks meet and surpass indus­try’s standard for fire resis­tance. They have an ASTM E119 fire rating of four-hours, and ASTM E84 reported values for flame spread of zero and smoke devel­op­ment of twenty. Bautex Blocks suc­cess­ful­ly passed the NFPA 286 and E84 tests, and meet the NFPA 101 basic life safety fire code regard­less of finishes.

Energy-Efficient Construction Trends

Another 2018 con­struc­tion trends in Texas includes energy-efficient designs that achieve net-zero energy use and high indoor envi­ron­men­tal quality. An energy-efficient building has con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, low air infil­tra­tion, high-effi­cien­cy heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient doors, windows, and elec­tri­cal systems. Specific energy-efficient con­struc­tion trends in Texas for 2018 include a whole-building system approach and the use of thermal mass building systems.

4. Whole-Building System Approach to Energy Efficiency

A 2018 con­struc­tion trend in Texas is the use of the whole-building system approach in the design and con­struc­tion of energy efficient struc­tures. The whole-building system approach treats a building as a single energy system in which each part affects the per­for­mance of the whole-building. A building is only as good as its weakest part. The goal of the whole-building system approach is to create an energy-efficient and durable building with a healthy and safe indoor envi­ron­ment in the most cost-effect manner possible. The whole-building system approach encour­ages the entire project team to work together to meet overall project goals.

5. Utilizing High Thermal Mass Materials with Continuous Insulation

Trending in 2018 is the use of high thermal mass materials to create an energy-efficient building. High thermal mass materials can stabilize tem­per­a­ture shifts within a building by slowing the rate of heat transfer. Water, brick, stone, and concrete are examples of high thermal mass materials.

The Bautex Wall System is an excellent high thermal mass product that provides con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion and minimizes air and moisture infil­tra­tion. The Bautex insulated concrete block wall system provides an R‑14 con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion that meets the latest 2015 Inter­na­tion­al Energy Con­ser­va­tion Code (2015 IECC).

Healthy Building Trends

In 2018, com­mer­cial, gov­ern­ment and res­i­den­tial building owners are demanding healthier building design. A building or home must have an indoor envi­ron­ment that is safe, com­fort­able and pro­duc­tive to its occupants. A healthy building design considers many indoor envi­ron­men­tal factors, such as indoor air quality (IAQ) and indoor sound quality (ISQ).

6. Excellent Indoor Air Quality

In 2018, a trend in con­struc­tion includes creating buildings and homes with indoor air quality. Proper instal­la­tion of air and moisture barriers is essential to good indoor air quality.

The Bautex Air and Moisture Barrier is an excellent product for pre­vent­ing air and moisture infil­tra­tion to the interior of the structure. The Bautex Air and Moisture Barrier is easy to apply and ensures a tight and energy-efficient building envelope that meets and even exceeds the require­ments of most com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion projects. The appli­ca­tion of the Bautex AMB 20 air and moisture barrier to the Bautex Block wall also creates a moisture resistant, airtight structure that elim­i­nates thermal bridges and potential for com­pli­ca­tions and health risks due to condensation.

7. Indoor Sound Quality in Building Design

In 2018, the design of new buildings or homes should create peaceful and quiet spaces. Effective acousti­cal spaces in buildings and homes are also essential for con­trol­ling noise pollution. Noise pollution adds stress, infringes on privacy and reduces the quality of life of building occupants. A con­struc­tion trend in 2018 includes effective indoor sound quality.

The Bautex Wall System is an ideal material choice for effective acoustic design and high sound reduction. The Bautex Wall System meets the American National Standards Institute criteria for schools and received high Sound Trans­mis­sion Class and Outdoor-Indoor Trans­mis­sion Class ratings from ETS-Lindgren Acoustic Research Lab­o­ra­to­ry.

Construction Technology Trends

8. Safety Meeting Mobile Apps

A vital con­struc­tion trend in Texas for 2018 is improving job site safety with the use of safety meeting mobile apps. Improving job site safety is essential for today’s con­struc­tion workers. In fact, in 2016, the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics reported that con­struc­tion had the highest number of fatal work injuries by industry sector.

Safety-focused mobile apps improve safety by allowing workers at a site to easily produce safety data and conduct safety meetings. Essen­tial­ly a safety mobile app enhances com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the office and field. It is also compliant with OSHA. A safety mobile app saves time and money, improves account­abil­i­ty, and prevents injuries. A safety mobile app is an essential con­struc­tion trend in Texas for 2018.

9. Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drones equipped with cameras are a popular con­struc­tion trend in 2018 in Texas. Drones are used to gather data of the entire con­struc­tion site. The data is used to make maps, determine the changes and updates to the project, and even complete a safety inspec­tion. Utilizing drones at a con­struc­tion job site improves effi­cien­cy and overall safety for workers. Builders can expect to see an increase in the use of drones in and around job sites during 2018.

10. Smart Building Systems

In 2018, smart building systems are trending. Smart buildings use building man­age­ment controls and opti­miza­tion software to manage air con­di­tion­er, ven­ti­la­tion, heating, security, lighting, and other energy consuming functions. Smart building tech­nol­o­gy allows building owners to optimize the use of space, reduce energy use, and support the orga­ni­za­tions sus­tain­abil­i­ty goals. Con­struc­tion trends in 2018 in Texas include smart building designs that support the environment.

Increasing Construction Costs

According to the 2018 North American Con­struc­tion Forecast Report, con­struc­tion costs are predicted to increase two to three percent in 2018. Builders, archi­tects, and building owners can expect that 2018 will bring an increase in both con­struc­tion materials and labor.

11. Increasing Construction Labor Costs in 2018

Con­struc­tion labor costs are fore­cast­ed to increase by 3 to 4 percent in 2018. Labor shortages are due to dif­fi­cul­ty in recruit­ing younger workers and skilled labor, along with stricter immi­gra­tion policies. The labor shortage has resulted in employers raising the average pay to secure qualified workers.

12. Increasing Construction Material Costs in 2018

In 2018, con­struc­tion material costs are fore­cast­ed to increase two to three percent. Material costs have risen due to the increas­ing demands after hur­ri­canes Harvey and Irma. Also, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion 10-percent tax on Canadian softwood lumber has con­tributed to a reduced supply of wood, further increas­ing its price. In fact, the random length framing composite price average in 2017 was 413, the second highest price in over 20 years. More recently intro­duced steel and metals tariffs are also wreaking havoc on con­struc­tion prices and volatil­i­ty. Builders can expect an increase in overall con­struc­tion material costs, par­tic­u­lar­ly with wood-frame construction

As wood and steel prices continue to climb, a shift towards alter­na­tive framing materials, like insu­lat­ing concrete blocks (ICB), is a wise choice. The Bautex Wall System is an example of insulated concrete block con­struc­tion. Bautex Block has many averages over wood- and steel-frame con­struc­tion. Bautex Blocks are more resistant to fire, disaster, and insect resistant than wood-frame con­struc­tion. Bautex Blocks is also a healthier choice over wood-frame construction. 

13. Panelized and Modular Construction Trending in 2018

Panelized and modular con­struc­tion is a building trend in 2018 that saves both time and money. Panelized and modular con­struc­tion can reduce con­struc­tion time over tra­di­tion­al methods, like wood, metal or concrete, by more than 50 percent. Factory-built modular con­struc­tion produces essen­tial­ly the same level of per­for­mance, but elim­i­nates much of the inef­fi­cien­cy in con­ven­tion­al con­struc­tion processes.

Another answer to reducing con­struc­tion time and cost is utilizing inte­grat­ed building systems that provide multiple functions of a building in one. These systems reduce the number of trades and the amount of labor required to complete a building project. Inte­grat­ed systems also benefit the con­trac­tor by sim­pli­fy­ing and accel­er­at­ing the con­struc­tion process.

The Bautex Wall System is an easy to install insulated concrete block wall system that provides structure, enclosure, insu­la­tion, and air and moisture pro­tec­tion in one assembly. Con­trac­tors using the Bautex Wall System can count on quick and easy con­struc­tion, and owners get the benefit of a building system that is much higher per­form­ing than most con­ven­tion­al and modular construction.

The ASCE 24 is the ref­er­enced standard in the Inter­na­tion­al Building Code® (IBC) and tells designers, archi­tects, and builders the minimum require­ments and expected per­for­mance for the design and con­struc­tion of buildings and struc­tures in flood hazard areas. Buildings designed according to ASCE 24 aim to resist flood loads and flood damage and are compliant with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements.