Construction trends have been changing over the past several years. While some of these changes are just now becoming relevant, a wise builder stays aware of them. They can be a telling indicator about which direction the industry is heading.
From On-Site Layout to In-House Design
Tradition is giving way to practical methods, as contractors are beginning to put the framework of a building together where the first engineering document took shape. Corporations like Layton are leading the way to making the entire first half of the building process happen all in the same location. This includes the engineering, coordination, and creation of the documents. Layton sets an example for how completing these stages in-house assists in the building procedure and saves time.
New Types of Materials
Fragile components and breakable materials are becoming a thing of the past. As technology improves, so do building components, like smart windows, heat exchangers, and wind turbines. These items, once high-maintenance, are now constructed using unbreakable materials. As technology continues to evolve, the sturdier aspects of materials are expected to include cladding for buildings and other various elements.
Researchers at the University College London have developed moisture-resistant nanoparticle coatings. These finishes can be scratched, gouged, or exposed to oil yet maintain their nonabsorbent properties. Coated in titanium dioxide, the finish deflects many types of liquids, which ball up and roll off it like little marbles. This product is just beginning to gain recognition and will soon become a staple in the building world.
Another item sure to change is concrete. Long considered the epitome of stability and the go-to for all foundations, researchers are learning that concrete can be stronger and even somewhat flexible. The addition of cellulose nanocrystals to the mix creates a surface that has better impact resistance, as well as flexibility. The nanocrystals decrease the drying time, so the concrete emits a reduced amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As this technique is explored more, there will likely be more advantages of note.
Environmentally Friendly Energy
In today’s world, most consumers are becoming more conscious of the energy they are consuming. Customer service demands that the construction industry make energy-friendly products a priority. Occupancy sensors are one option that can be offered in a green-friendly project. The sensor detects when carbon dioxide is present in the environment. Therefore, it knows when a room is occupied, and it can trigger a change in the area’s ventilation.
Massachusetts-based Aedi Construction has become a leader in constructing buildings that are energy and resource efficient. Aedi has earned recognition for producing the first LEED multiunit homes in the United States.
Everyone has seen modular buildings on the trailer headed somewhere, but builders know how popular permanent modular are becoming. Customers rely on permanent modulars, which are convenient for those who are under time constraints. It is easy to modify a permanent modular, changing and adapting it with extra rooms later. The building’s sections are called modules and are constructed before they are moved in pieces to the final location. Once they arrive, a crane will place them on the foundation, and the finishing work is completed.
Permanent modular buildings are the result of pre-fab construction. A method akin to Henry Ford’s assembly line in its efficiency, it is garnering popularity as the best way to avoid on-site delays, such as those caused by bad weather. The building is pieced together quickly in a controlled area. The builder has easy access to materials and a regular schedule. There is minimal risk with this method, and it saves money as well as time.
While acknowledging trends in the industry, Hallmaker stays loyal to the best building material available: steel. The material of choice in the North European market, steel stays strong in spite of fads and phases that may pull other companies in other directions. Steel can be put up faster than most other types of buildings. It is tough, standing strong in all kinds of weather, including earthquakes, strong winds, and hurricanes. Steel can be recycled, so it is more economical and environmentally friendly than most of the competition. Steel can be reused easily to be just as tough and steady in a new project. It is not expensive to recycle, which renders its reusability one of its greatest qualities.
Not only is it readily given new life, steel generally is clean to use. It is not a strong pollutant and requires a smaller storage area than many other materials. Steel is easy to install and there tends to be less waste, so it is not as difficult to clean up.
A steel frame, compared to other types of foundations, is very low maintenance and tends to maintain its original qualities throughout the life of the building.
Steel is flexible and forgiving and can be attached easily to an existing structure. It is light and versatile, making it perfect for everything from high-rises and bridges that need it to yield in the wind to strong boathouses that can withstand years of beating from waves. Its strength and unchanging qualities have led to its use in some of the world’s most recognizable structures. It stands for decades showing very little wear or change. Whatever the new construction trends, steel will be there.