Interview: thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck on the future of urban mobility
City skylines are adju...
Currently around 50% of the world’s population reside in urban areas, a figure set to rise to 70% by the end of this century.
City skylines are adjusting as a result – the pressing need to maximise space has led to the proliferation of high-rise buildings.
“This is creating business for the construction industry and the upward mobility market,” says Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator, a $9bn division of the German industrial conglomerate, in an interview for Construction Global magazine.
“The data we’ve seen shows the number of high-rise buildings has tripled during the past 15 years or so, and building planners are looking at greater construction heights. This is good news for the elevator industry as more buildings are going up and taller buildings mean more people to transport inside.”
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Schierenbeck explains how important elevator shaft solutions are to architects and their designs of buildings.
“At the moment, around 40% of usable floor space is used for elevators and transporting people, and I think that’s a waste of material and money.”
The solution? Schierenbeck points to a flaw in current lift designs, namely the fact it can only operate one cabin due to the rope system that moves it. Thyssenkrupp’s MULTI uses linear motor technology, meaning cabins can move horizontally as well as vertically, opening up the option for multiple cabins to operate at once.
The linear motor technology also presents opportunities to transform mobility in other urban environments, asides high-rise buildings.
“There’s a problem that metro systems are not constructed in an organised manner,” Schierenbeck says. “Two nearby metro stations at different depths can be connected by a MULTI system that can move up, down, left and right.”
Does thyssenkrupp Elevator hold the key to future urban mobility solutions? To read more from Schierenbeck don’t miss the June edition of Construction Global magazine.
Tokyo 'most expensive city' for construction
Tokyo has picked up an unenviable gold medal after being classified the most expensive city for construction.
As the Japanese city prepares a subdued opening to the Olympic Games on Friday, the International Construction Market Survey 2021 by Turner & Townsend found it was the most costly for building, with an average cost of $4,002 per sqm, followed by Hong Kong ($3,894 per sqm) and San Francisco ($3,720 per sqm). New York and Geneva were ranked fourth and fifth respectively.
The survey forecasts that rising prices being seen in the global construction sector will be sustained through 2022 and into 2023.
The widespread disruption to global supply chains witnessed through the pandemic is also being sustained by high demand and competition for key materials between global markets including the US, Europe and Asia.
Globally, demand for steel, softwood and copper piping have seen prices rise sharply over the year, with increases of up to 40 percent seen in some international cities including Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Birmingham, Glasgow and Dublin.
As activity accelerates, supply chain constraints are increasing and skills shortages are worsening, resulting in substantial construction cost inflation in many markets.
Neil Bullen, Global Managing Director, Real Estate Turner & Townsend said material shortages have undoubtedly recast the client and supplier dynamic and there is currently a shift in power from client to supplier in many markets around the world.
"Companies need to work closely with their supply chains to guard against these risks – moving from a ‘just in time’ to a ‘just in case’ approach to delivery," he said. “Beyond material and skills shortages, public and private sector clients across the world are juggling multiple, competing goals and priorities. From accommodating hybrid working patterns, to embedding social value into their operations and taking concrete steps towards net zero, success is no longer judged by the old mantra of ‘better faster, cheaper’.”
London ($3,203 per sqm), which ranked third in 2019’s report, fell to eighth place behind Geneva, Zurich, and Boston. The fall in ranking reflects the buoyancy of other construction markets and the combined effects of Brexit and COVID-19, which placed many projects on hold, restricting demand for new work in 2020.
According to the research, the most buoyant construction sector across all 90 markets are data centres, driven by the unabated growth in technology and digitalisation. It is the first year that data centres have topped the ranking moving up from sixth position in 2019.