7 Trending Building Materials for Heavy Construction in 2023

Now three months into the new year, prevailing trends in the construction industry for the remainder of the year are rounding into clear form. As can be expected, there is a major focus on energy efficiency and durability when sourcing materials. However, it is also worth noting that commercial and industrial structures are looking for ways to improve aesthetics and promote tenant well-being at an increased rate as well. For a complete breakdown, keep reading for trending building materials for heavy construction in 2023.

1. Rigid Polyiso Insulation

Energy efficiency will continue to be a primary focus of the construction industry in 2023. As such, greater emphasis will be placed on creating highly insulative and airtight building envelopes. Rigid polyiso board is a premier choice for roof cover board and exterior wall insulation because its R-value per inch is greater than 6. This allows builders to create energy efficient structures without adding significant bulk to the frame. 

2. Hurricane Grade Windows

Another aspect of energy efficient construction is the increased use of window area to promote the flow of natural light throughout a building’s interior. To ensure that more windows do not lead to a breach of the building envelope, projects are employing hurricane grade storm windows. Fabricated with steel frames, grilles, and sashes and using reinforced glass capable of withstanding winds of over 100 MPH, storm windows are a great way to ensure that the forces of nature do not impact window-to-wall transitions. 

3. Flat Roof Support

Most industrial buildings and commercial high rises feature a flat roof instead of the pitched roofs found in residential structures. This design makes it easier for service professionals to perform maintenance on the building and provides a landing spot for the increasingly popular rooftop deck trend. To help withstand the compressive forces put on flat roofs, it is important to apply b decking to the roof substrate. B decking helps transfer vertical loads horizontally to the frame. This helps prevent acute damage to the flat roof and allows it to accommodate larger amounts of roof insulation and traffic. 

4. Architectural Grilles

Architectural grilles are a trending material in urban construction and renovation projects. In vertical structures such as parking garages, they provide an element of aesthetic intrigue that provides texture and style to an otherwise monolithic design. They also provide a strong visual, noise, and debris buffer, filtering out a portion of these unwanted elements before they reach the interior of the structure. 

5. Structural Steel

Steel buildings remain exceptionally popular in commercial construction in 2023 thanks to their elite durability and ease of maintenance. Some of the benefits of choosing structural steel include:

1. Can be built on less complex frames

2. A large component of prefabrication completed offsite, resulting in shorter turnaround times on construction projects

3. Vast amounts of clear span that allow for open interiors, promoting versatility and customization in commercial spaces

4. Highly resistant to inclement weather, pest, and fire damage

Structural steel buildings have lifespans well over 100 years, making them a great choice for repurposing for future use. In the event that demolition is necessary, steel is a recyclable product, giving it exceptionally high marks for sustainability.

6. Backdraft Dampers

Air quality has always been a major consideration in the heavy construction industry, with significant focus on PPE that keeps workers safe from toxic air particles. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, greater air quality controls are being built into commercial facilities to protect building employees and patrons. One of these measures includes the installation of backdraft and tunnel dampers into poorly ventilated areas of the building. Dampers work to ensure that air is flowing in a single desired direction. This guarantees that any toxic air that has been scrubbed from the ambient environment does not make its way back into the facility. 

7. Stone Veneer Cladding

More and more building owners are realizing the importance of aesthetics for their industrial facilities. Even if it is not a customer-facing structure, significant evidence reveals that employees desire an attractive building that they look forward to entering each day. This boost in morale is shown to have a direct impact on worker productivity. As such, stone veneer cladding is increasingly being added to steel and concrete structures to provide warming texture and aesthetic intrigue to commercial buildings. Not only is stone veneer cladding attractive, some installations include an innovative rainscreen moisture barrier, directing moisture down through a permeable membrane and to a drainage mat, guaranteeing that it never reaches the building’s frame. 

The Top Trending Heavy Construction Materials of 2023

With springtime rapidly approaching, heavy construction trends are in clear focus for 2023. Some of the most prevalent materials include energy efficiency products like polyiso insulation and those that promote long-lasting durability, such as structural steel. However, there is also an increased push for improved aesthetics, with architectural grilles and stone veneer cladding, as well as air quality features in the form of backdraft dampers. Depending on the needs of the project, choose from any of the materials listed above to keep buildings trending in 2023.