5 Construction Innovations to look out for in 2017

The last couple of years have seen so many technological advances take place in the construction industry that we thought it was worth taking a look at some of them. From new materials to innovative design approaches and out the box data solutions, these technologies are starting to make their mark and could entirely change the way the construction industry operates.

1. Concrete solutions

Cement is widely used in construction but extended exposure to water and chemicals often leads to the concrete cracking, which is a major problem. Researchers at Bath University have developed a self-healing concrete containing bacteria. When water enters a crack, they activate and produce limestone to plug the crack before the steel reinforcement can become corroded. While we’re on the topic of concrete, permeable concrete is set to transform the landscape… literally! People are raving about its ability to prevent the damage caused by stormwater runoff that erodes topsoil and often overwhelms wastewater systems, resulting in untreated sewage being dumped into local waterways and beaches. That being said, however, the empty spaces that allow water to flow through the concrete have limited its use in more demanding applications, such as highways and buildings.

2. Photovoltaic energy

Imagine being able to turn an entire building into one giant solar panel that can be used to create electricity. Well, transparent photovoltaic glass are here and can be used as a structural building material to form windows and building facades. Add to this the advances Tesla are making with photovoltaic roof tiles, and the potential to harness natural energy is huge! Not only will you be greening your buildings, but energy costs in the long run will be virtually negligible, as the buildings will be provided with uninterrupted electricity all day long. If you’re worried about how strong the glass is, don’t be. Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles are made with tempered glass and are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles.

3. 3D printing

The use of 3-D printing is a hot topic in the construction industry. From 3D Modelling to help architects, engineers and construction teams visualize designs, to “printing” building blocks and walls, the technology could speed up building times and even offer higher quality materials than traditional construction materials. Producing no construction waste, it could even prove cheaper in the long run when compared to traditional construction practices.

4. Drone surveys

To date, site surveys have been a challenge depending on terrain and site layout, but today you can do it via drone. Unmanned drones can gather data on a job site by taking videos and photographs and then linking up to software that recreates the site in a 3-D model or high-definition map. Better than ground-level scanners, airborne drones don’t have to be operated manually, and will follow pre-planned routes to gather data aimed at helping construction managers understand how much progress has been made on projects and they can even be used to conduct visual and thermal inspections in buildings with the purpose of identifying problems such as leaks and cracks.

5. Asset mapping software

Asset mapping software, like AssetFinda, focuses on operational equipment and various asset classes such as roads, utilities, mining and transport, but whereas other software systems rely on spreadsheets, manual exporting and linking between multiple platforms, AssetFInda has an out-of-the-box GIS interface that allows you to make informed decisions that will save you time and money. AssetFinda’s superior mapping interface is accurate and instant. It gives you real-time visibility of your entire asset network with no need to switch between systems. You can easily overlay historical and real-time data to instantly see vital trends, patterns and correlations between different assets and asset classes. 

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