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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.