Technology and new materials could be the answer!

The world of construction needs to evolve and adapt. A number of recent issues have highlighted this – challenges with the supply chain, rising material and labour costs and a huge spotlight on the sector that contributes significantly (in a bad way) to climate change. There needs to be change but the good news is that change is here. 

There are continuing advancements of technology and materials and given the factors above you can expect to see their usage coming to the forefront of modern ways of construction very soon. In fact you could say they are about to reshape real estate for the next generation. There have been introductions of construction technology over the last few years – areas like robotics, 3D printed houses and digital fabrication. These will continue to evolve. 

  • 3D Printing has the power to change construction far beyond quick build homes and equipment pieces. The long-term effects of this technology could help to speed up construction project times, reduce project costs and waste and help to streamline client-contractor-architect communications. But step down and brace for 4D printing allowing objects to transform when an external energy source (like temperature) is apple. 
  • And alongside 3D printing is bricklaying robots – Meet Hadrian! 
  • Material wise graphene is getting more prominence. As an alumni of the University of Manchester it fills me with a little pride. Concrete has been a go-to for many years BUT graphene is stronger and more sustainable so really why would you not use? Science wise it is carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice – it is one of the stronger materials known yet flexible and conductive. I’m sure graphene will become a more common material even if working alongside existing materials to make concrete stronger.
  • Some buildings just take time to clean. So imagine a self-cleaning material. No more wiping surfaces – they just do it themselves! Self-cleaning materials allow for a reduction in operational costs. Imagine this technology at home too! 
  • Ordinary concrete is flawed in that it requires water. So building in places without water are tricky. Martian concrete requires sulfur and not water and therefore is perfect for construction in more remote places. The material is highly resistant to corrosion and currently used for non-structural applications such as plumbing and landscaping. It is a fast setting material too.
  • Are they bees? Locusts? Nope – just a swarm of robots building a design. Fiberbots produce tubes out of fibreglass  – a sustainable solution for buildings. Fiberbots are intuitive and can react to the environment. Talk about the future! Could this be the future for faster and more efficient construction?
  • And last but certainly not least are Hypercells – shape-shifting robotics cubes that can move in any direction. A building that could construct itself? Maybe not now but this could be a thing of the future. 

Advancements in materials and technology are providing real life solutions to the construction sector as it continues to seek to innovate and provide safeguards against big threats in terms of skills shortages and supply change. It provides an exciting landscape for what the future holds.

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