In the last few years, a number of new trends have begun to emerge in the construction and building industry. While many of these trends are still in their infancy and have yet to become mainstream, it is still important to understand where the industry may be moving within the next few years.
Among the trends that are becoming increasingly common is a move toward a single-design model. Traditionally, engineering documents were first created and then provided to the contractor to be re-drawn. Today, in an effort to save both money and time, there has been a shift toward having everything performed in-house. This includes engineering as well as coordination.
Use of Materials
There has also been a shift in regards to the types of materials now being used. Among the newest innovations in the use of building and construction materials is that of unbreakable materials. At the moment, this type of materials is primarily being introduced in the construction of heat exchangers, smart windows, and wind turbines. Whether it will make its way into cladding for buildings remains to be seen, but the promise is certainly there.
Nanoparticle coatings are another area being explored in the use of innovative building materials. For instance, researchers at the University College London have developed a coating that is capable of resisting moisture even after it has been exposed to oil or scratched. The finish is constructed of coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles and is capable of rejecting oil and water. Invasive substances simply bounce off the surface of the material. Usage of the material has remained relatively limited, but it could very well see larger scale usage in the future.
Stronger, more durable concrete could also be on its way in the future. Researchers have begun experimenting with the addition of cellulose nanocrystals to concrete. Studies have found that materials reinforced with nanocrystals are capable of outperforming traditional alternatives in terms of flexibility, impact resistance, and strength. When used in concrete, these materials make it possible to reduce the environmental footprint of a structure while using less material. In fact, nanomaterials could very well be incorporated in widespread usage in the building and construction industry in the very near future. Given that they offer a number of important advantages for a host of applications, nanomaterials hold a tremendous amount of promise.
Increased Energy Efficiency
Energy consumption is now increasingly on the minds of most consumers, and this is a trend we are now seeing become more common in construction. For instance, occupancy sensors are now becoming more widely used in an effort to recover lost energy. Such sensors are designed to recognize the presence of carbon dioxide in a room, thus indicating occupancy. When carbon dioxide is recognized in the room, the sensor makes changes to the ventilation.
Permanent Modular Construction
Within the next several years, permanent modular construction could become a massive trend. This type of construction is already becoming a popular option for clients who are on a short timeframe and need a building to go up quickly. Proponents of this form of construction also point out that it is highly scalable. For instance, additional space can be added onto the initial building later. The multiple sections of this form of construction, referred to as modules, are typically first constructed at an offsite location before being transported to the final site. Cranes are used to position the construction onto proper foundations.
As key stakeholders in the building and construction industry must continually cope with increased pressure to cope with unpredictable weather and building delays while maintaining efficiency, pre-fab construction is also gaining momentum. With this form of construction, most of the building can be constructed within a controlled environment instead of on the construction site. Among the advantages of this approach is the ability to minimize risk while increasing productivity.
While a number of trends are poised to have a significant impact on the building and construction industry, Hallmaker remains a traditional construction company focusing on the construction of steel buildings within the European market. Steel continues to offer an impressive array of advantages, even when compared to many of the emerging trends within the industry. For instance, it is still much faster to set up a steel building than buildings constructed of many other materials. Additionally, steel is quite strong and capable of withstanding a range of weather events, including earthquakes and hurricanes. Compared to many other building methods, steel is also quite cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly. This is because steel is recyclable while helping to spare other natural materials. Many of the components of a steel building can actually be reused in other building projects.
The construction site for a steel building is also typically much cleaner and contributes less pollution than other building methods. One of the reasons for this is that the prefabricated steel elements used in the construction of a steel building reduces the need for storage. Furthermore, those elements are also quite easy to install, which makes it easier to keep the construction site neat and tidy.
There is also less waste involved in the construction of a steel building than with other construction methods, largely because the components in a steel building are prefabricated and frequently recyclable. Maintenance of a steel building over the lifespan of the structure is also less labor-intensive than many other building materials.
When it comes to new applications, it’s also easy to customize a steel building. Since steel is inherently flexible, it is much easier to build onto an existing steel structure. The versatile nature of steel construction makes it suitable for a variety of purposes, including storage buildings, sports halls, aircraft hangers, workshops, production halls, boat slips, commercial buildings, agricultural buildings, and more.