Top 6 current construction trends
While additive manufacturing isn’t entirely new, its rapidly-growing use in the construction industry is. The advantages of this method for printing infrastructure such as concrete is quick construction, low cost, and a great deal less waste being produced. 3D printing could play a huge role in the production of low-cost housing in impoverished and war-torn areas; only the necessary raw materials are produced for such products, and 3D printer ‘ink’ can be created with recycled plastic. 3D printing of buildings is also well on its way to being used for off-planet habitats on Mars and the Moon, to the extent that NASA plans to use sintering techniques on lunar dust, enabling construction without the difficult transportation of materials from Earth.
While sustainability is an old concept, the features and technology which allow it to evolve are constantly growing apace. Solar panels and plumbing fixtures which save water, once costly and as such considered a luxury, are affordable and widely-used. Now, there are many renewable energy options for new builds, and a great deal of scope for the use of recycled products. The concept of green building has moved on from being merely stylish to necessary and socially responsible, and materials are judged on their levels of sustainability through building certification programs.
Apps are now playing an integral role in the construction industry, ensuring instantaneous access to shared information, whether on the floor or within management. Safety apps like iAuditor are on the rise, lessening on-site accidents globally, and now, drones are being used to survey sites from above, allowing previously unseen views and the production of accurate 3D area models.
One of the most popular uses of apps in this industry is Building Information Modelling, which is a full digital representation of any facility. It is shared software to which any given worker can have access, ensuring total visibility of operations.
The tiny house movement advocates the concept of living simply in a small space of under 1000 square feet. In America specifically, 76 percent of homeowners live from wage to wage to pay for the roof over their heads, leading to a cycle of debt. 78 percent of tiny home owners are able to own their houses either outright or within a short space of time, and the concept is made further attractive by the ideals of self-sufficiency and environmental consciousness the movement promotes.
Concrete roofing tiles
BoralPure Smog-Eating Tiles remove nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere, improving the quality of the immediate environment. They contain the photocatalyst titanium dioxide, oxidising the vehicle-emitted poison. The harmless precipitate left behind in the chemical reaction washes away in the rain, and the UV light created naturally by this technology helps break down organic substances that occur on roofs. If the tiles ever require removal, they can be recycled for new structures or railways.
Polyaspartic coatings can be used on metal and concrete, ensuring damage resistance against UV light, chemicals, and general abrasion. The product ensures good colour stability and ease of cleaning, with an ultra-quick curing time. Polyaspartic coatings can be applied at a wide range of temperatures, allowing for a broader application time and making it perfect for larger commercial projects. The coatings are created using raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience, and ensure improved productivity across the board.
UK Construction Week: winners revealed
The inaugural UKCW Construction Awards took place on the UKCW main stage this week at the NEC in Birmingham. The awards celebrate innovation and excellence for a range of large and small contractors architects, clients and suppliers. The winners were announced by architect George Clarke and main media partner Construction Buzz.
Contractor of 2019 - Sir Robert McAlpine
Construction Client of 2019 - Scape Group
Architectural Practice of 2019 - Grimshaw Architects
House Builder of 2019 - Swan Housing
Construction Supplier of 2019 - Ward
Construction Project of 2019 - Royal Opera House
Construction Employer of 2019 - Aylaa Exclusive
Digital Pioneer 2019 - Atkins
Modern Methods of Construction Pioneer 2019 - Mace
Production Innovation Award 2019 - Laing O'Rourke
Sir Robert McAlpine is celebrating its 150th anniversary and has stated: "Our 150th anniversary celebrations have been hard to miss on a number of sites across the country thanks to the presence of specially produced panels incorporated within our hoardings. This milestone year provided the opportunity to honour the vision and hard work of all those who have played their part in our long and successful history.
Nathan Garnett, event director at UK Construction Week, commented:
“We have wanted to host these awards for some time, but this year it was made possible by our industry Role Models who gave us their very honest and forthright views on who should receive these accolades.
“The businesses chosen as winners from a shortlist of more than 60 companies have convinced the toughest of judges – the people who are part of their delivery partners or supply chains, and the people who are inspiring others to join the construction industry.
“So it is great to be able to recognise the excellence we see all around us in this sector, and the businesses who are forging ahead on innovation despite the climate of uncertainty that is affecting construction so badly. They are beacons of light for the whole sector.”
UK Construction Week (UKCW) consists of multiple sections: Build, Building Tech, Civils, Energy & HVAC, Surface & Materials and Timber along with the newly launched Concrete Expo and Grand Designs Live. Next year's event takes place at Birmingham's NEC October 6-8.