22 Jun WHAT’S NEXT FOR BUILDING MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION JOBS?
If you haven’t taken a moment out to think about the future of building materials and construction hardware, we highly recommend doing so. After all, these elements play a crucial role in shaping the environmental impact, functionality, and aesthetics of the structures we inhabit and work in. OK, so maybe you’re not a property developer and you don’t work as a builder. Nonetheless, the future of building materials and construction hardware bears discussing – so let’s do just that.
To kick things off: It’s no secret that sustainability is now a critical driver of innovation in building materials, as the industry seeks to reduce its environmental footprint and promote circular economy principles. Some emerging trends and technologies to note here follow:
- Biobased materials: These components, made from renewable sources like wood, bamboo, and hemp, can offer a more sustainable alternative to traditional building materials like concrete and steel. It bears reminding that biobased materials can also help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Recycled and upcycled materials: Using offerings such as reclaimed wood or recycled plastic,can help reduce waste and conserve resources. Innovative approaches, like turning waste glass into high-performance building insulation, can further promote circularity and sustainability.
- Low-carbon materials: Materials with lower embodied carbon, such as low-carbon concrete and alternative cementitious materials, can help reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. What’s more, using materials with a longer lifespan, such as cross-laminated timber, can reduce the need for frequent replacements and lower overall environmental impact.
The digitalization and automation of building materials and hardware are revolutionizing the construction industry, improving efficiency, productivity, and safet too. Some items to keep on your radar might include:
- Building information modeling (BIM): BIM is a digital modeling tool that allows for more efficient and accurate planning, design, and construction of buildings. It can help optimize material use, reduce waste, and improve collaboration among different stakeholders.
- 3D printing: This technology can help create complex building components quickly and precisely, reducing waste and enabling more intricate designs. What’s more, the practice of 3D printing can also help optimize material use by using only the necessary amount of material, reducing costs and environmental impact.
- Smart building hardware: The integration of smart technologies such as sensors, actuators, and control systems can enhance the performance and energy efficiency of buildings. In case you missed the memo, smart building hardware can adjust lighting, heating, and cooling based on occupancy, weather conditions, and other factors, reducing energy consumption and improving user comfort.
And, of course, modular and prefabricated construction methods offer a faster and more efficient alternative to traditional construction, while also promoting sustainability and resource conservation. Trends perhaps worth keeping in mind here are:
- Mass timber: Options here such as cross-laminated timber and glulam can provide a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional building materials like concrete and steel. To wit, mass timber is prefabricated offsite, reducing construction waste and enabling faster installation.
- Prefabricated building components: Choices like prefabricated walls, floors, and roofs can be manufactured offsite and assembled on site, reducing waste and labor costs. Such components can also help improve construction quality and safety by ensuring consistency and precision.
- Modular building systems: Picture these choices as prefabricated building modules that can be assembled into various configurations, providing a flexible and adaptable solution for different building types and uses. Tapping into the benefits of modular construction can also reduce waste, energy consumption, and construction time compared to traditional methods.