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The commercial renovations industry faced unique challenges in 2021. Commercial renovation contractors found innovative solutions to overcome those challenges. Those solutions could continue to shape commercial construction and renovation in the near future.

Now that the dust has settled in 2022, we can look back at some of the trends in commercial renovations that hit in 2021.

Renovating a Commercial Space? Learn What’s Trending in Commercial Construction & Renovation

Commercial renovation contractors can prepare for the hurdles of crafting modern commercial space by noticing the trends and getting ahead of them.

Ensure Your Space Meets Modern Expectations by Knowing These 7 Trends

Less Retail Construction

2021 was an unusual year heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the commercial construction industry saw less demand for retail construction as many people shopped exclusively online to limit exposure.

On the flip side, renovations to educational, medical, industrial, and business spaces boomed as operators made necessary changes to their facilities to comply with new health restrictions or public expectations. Hotels also made a lot of renovations for health and safety protocols.

As the world tries to get back to something close to normal, expect more demand for commercial construction. Infrastructure spending is part of the new budget agenda which should spur even more construction. Watch out for this surge creating a lot of competition for resources and labor.

Workplace Layout Revisions

Many commercial construction projects in 2021 were driven by demand for remodeling workspaces. Businesses needed to expand some work areas to follow social distancing guidelines. Other companies needed to find new ways to collaborate. That could mean enlarging meeting spaces or introducing remote collaboration online.

Some businesses are also going the other way and reducing the actual square footage needed for operations. The pandemic sent many workers to work-from-home situations. Some companies realized that they wouldn’t need as much office space if they stayed working remotely full or part-time. So they built or rented smaller facilities or repurposed and remodeled a portion of their existing space.

In some cases, the desire to limit human interaction also led to a rise in the construction of self-checkout style kiosks programmed to perform various customer service tasks across an array of industries and business types. 

As businesses and investors try to keep their costs down, we saw a rise in modular construction. Expect the interest in modular and prefab construction to continue, at least for a while, especially on projects on tight budgets and deadlines.

Hands-Free Usability

Many commercial spaces embrace the installation of touchless technology designed to limit people’s contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.


A lot of the shift to touchless tech happened in bathroom renovations, namely, replacing the facility flushing fixtures, faucets, and hand dryers. You could even include the analog, foot-pedal door-openers many workplaces installed on their facility doors.


Another place we saw a rise in hand-free tech was at entryways and security check-in stations. Some other technology included safety measures like laser thermometers and facial recognition cameras.

Point Of Sale 

We also saw an uptick in hands-free or quick scan payment methods. Some were implemented with simple tech add ons to existing checkout counters, but some are more akin to the kiosks mentioned above.

While the world tries to move on from the abundance of caution taken during 2021, expect some of these technological developments to stick around.

Change Of Materials

Another major trend in 2021 was a shift to more sanitary and sustainable materials.

Virus Resistant

Once again responding to the pandemic, many commercial construction clients began opting to build with materials that present antibacterial or antiviral surfaces.

Environmentally Safer

Another concern among the modern commercial construction clientele is the environmental impact and sustainability of the source of building materials. Of course, that includes renovation and remodel materials too.

Supply Chain

2021 saw a lot of disruptions to material supply chains for a variety of reasons. Commercial renovation contractors had to seek alternate sources to scrape together the materials needed. As competition for materials heats up when the boom happens, finding multiple sources to work around supply chain disruptions will be a necessity.


Let’s clear the air, literally. Many commercial operations upgraded their ventilation systems in 2021. Not only were there record temperatures that caused a spike in HVAC installations, but COVID-19 also spurred many installations and upgrades of air filtration systems.

Air filtration technology and HVAC efficiency continue to improve year after year. While the push to upgrade spurred on by COVID-19 will likely subside, it’s already created a new higher standard that many companies will still need to catch up to. So, while this trend may slow down, it will continue to have legs going forward.

BIM Replaces CAD

Building Information Modeling is overtaking CAd drawings as the preferred way for all of a building’s system designers to work together on a project. The 3-D virtual modeling lets you see all the angles as you plan your project. Expect this technology to just keep getting better and better.

Renewed Focus on Site Safety

While businesses were renovating their commercial spaces for health and safety measures, the commercial renovation companies had to do the same. They placed a renewed focus on safety, not just protection from COVID-19 but also safety overall.

Competition for quality workers could be challenging in the coming months. Some workers will want the peace of mind of knowing their company is taking all precautions. Other workers will find all the protocols frustrating. Striking just the right balance of safety and convenience will be an ongoing challenge.

Bring These Trends to Life: Hire a Commercial Renovation Contractor

While society may be moving beyond some of the precautions that spurred these changes, some of these trends are here to stay. Be ready to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of commercial construction and repair. Work with an experienced professional like Cook Builders to stay up to date with what’s happening. That way, you don’t throw away thousands of dollars on features that are frivolous frills and instead invest in the fundamentals of the future. Contact Cook Builders to get started.