Future Construction to Expect in 2016
Construction is an industry as old as civilization itself, and while machinery and new materials are revolutionizing it every day, many of its earliest traits can still be recognized. However, in a few years, this familiarity might all change for good. Future construction technology holds the potential to disrupt the industry in a huge way, and the beginnings are already here.
We have already covered a few of these technologies in past blogs, but there are plenty of reasons to revisit these technological advancements along with others that are poised to redefine construction as we know it. In this spirit, let us examine what construction technology advancements we could see in 2016 and beyond.
3D printing has made huge waves in the manufacturing industry, and the trickle down effects are already being seen in construction. A 3D printed mold could provide the basis for more precisely-cast devices like window locks or bracing brackets. Materials made completely by 3D printing’s additive manufacturing process may also come into use within time.
These grounded applications are not what has people talking though. Instead, 3D printed buildings are on the tip of everyone’s tongue. One Chinese construction firm named ZhuoDa is quite serious about using the technology to remove obstacles related to building in-the-field, while another company named Yingchuang New Materials demonstrated how the technology could quickly build 10 houses in a single day.
Concrete is possibly the most widely-used construction material on the planet, but it faces major limitations. Namely, it can weaken over time and gradually develop stress cracks. These cracks bloom into full-blown structural problems as moisture and time make their mark.
One Dutch microbiologist wants to eliminate this problem using self-healing concrete. Rather than letting both the private and public sectors face the future burden of making billions in repairs on concrete structures, Henk Jonkers is letting bacteria pick up the slack.
To do so, he embeds water-soluble capsules full of a special kind of bacteria in the concrete during mixing. Each bacterium comes to life when the capsule dissolves after exposure to environmental water, and it begins to consume the provided food and transform it into limestone deposits, plugging up cracks before they can even occur.
Automated or piloted robot workers are helping replace the most dangerous or cost-ineffective positions in construction. Construction drones can be used to accurately survey an area from above, inspect sewer lines and travel high up on poles and bridges to examine the state of public works. Other robots are demonstrating their mastery of demolition and bricklaying.
One subject we have not yet breached in detail here on Contractors Insurance is the development of sustainable construction materials and building practices.
One tower under construction in Indonesia aims to deliver net-zero energy use because of a variety of clever features. The open “grass chute” area at the top of the tower contains a wind tunnel capable of funneling high-speed winds into a group of generator turbines. Lining the building’s exterior are solar panels, and solar shades help repel infrared sunlight wavelengths that heat the building and raise cooling costs while letting visible light through.
Future Construction Technology Promises New Frontiers
As the nature and image of construction changes, who knows what a typical construction site could look like in 2016 and beyond? All we know is that humans will still play a crucial role in laying bricks and hammering nails for the time being while other technologies promise to make their jobs easier than ever before. As humans continue to be directly involved in construction, Contractors Insurance will remain as important as ever.