Top 5 construction trends for 2017

National Housing Corporation engineers construct a sample EPS panels house in Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
National Housing Corporation engineers construct a sample EPS panels house in Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of global warming and other catastrophes, the construction industry is rapidly changing to meet the needs of the modern society.

To help you stay on top of the emerging construction trends, here are five of the most important trends shaping the industry today.

1.) Modular design
The use of prefabricated building materials is not new in both commercial and residential construction sectors. Modular prefab homes have, for many decades, served as make-shift homes for construction workers, police and displaced persons.

However, today’s prefabrication has moved a notch higher – producing trendy yet low cost houses that are pleasant to look at and environmentally conscious. Modular design has therefore become the hot new thing in the construction industry.

2.) Solar energy
The cost of electricity has continued to go up for the past few years and this has seen many home owners turning to solar energy. Once solar panels are installed on a building’s roof, they generate free power from the sun by converting sunlight into electricity – at no cost! Thanks to this benefit, solar energy has become a buzzword in building and construction.

3.) Smaller, smarter homes
Economic recession and shrinking family sizes have forced people to rethink over-sized mansions and focus on what they really need. Home owners have found out that they can save a lot of money by building better homes as opposed to bigger. Besides, small homes are more energy efficient than large ones.

4.) Open floor plans
Open floor plans gained popularity in the early 1990s and are still popular today as ever. This type of design comprises an open space with fewer walls separating the rooms. The walls are, for example, limited to the kitchen and bathroom while the living space, dining space and bedroom space blend into a single open space.

Open floor plans are particularly popular because they allow more natural light to get into the house thereby reducing electricity usage in a home. However, this design is not suitable for every home owner due to its defined features.

5.) Green construction
The environmentally-friendly construction attitude is quickly catching on. Home owners are increasingly demanding that eco-friendly building materials such as bamboo and cork be used when building their new homes.

Green building is also being advocated by governments and non-governmental organisations the world-over because of its low impact on the earth. Besides, the use of green building materials such as bamboo can greatly lower your construction costs.

6. (Bonus point) Security – Concerns over insecurity have greatly affected the construction industry for the last few years. Builders are now emphasizing on strong walls and windows as well as evacuation routes just in case of fire, terrorists attacks or other kinds of tragedy.