The construction industry has made consistent improvements to home and workspaces throughout history, but some more recent innovations within the industry promise to improve safety, value and precision for future builds. Using the latest tools and techniques, architects, designers and builders can create better models, see how they function as a whole or individual systems and integrate technology for less time and cost.
Companies offering value engineering construction services are using new and established tools to find the most economic way to build your project. This is accomplished by going over the designer-specified materials, site layout issues, and other factors to see if there are more affordable options which still offer the best quality standards for your goals. Sometimes building systems, or layout issues have innovative solutions that your original designer is not familiar with, but which could save you money will delivering the same or better result.
While personal protective equipment does not seem innovative at first glance, improvements made to the five OSHA categories have increased efficiency and safety on construction sites. Protection for your head, eyes and face include safety glasses, dust or fume masks and hard hats with innovations in materials and design often involving reducing weight while increasing safety. Cut and heat resistant gloves, reinforced toes and shanks in boots and even innovative ear plugs designed for individual fit are common place on construction sites now, reducing injuries and the development of long-term disabilities for workers and visitors alike.
One building system innovation that is gaining in popularity is modular construction. Walls, frames and whole rooms can be built before the project is commissioned. Your construction crew can order the pieces that are needed for your home, office building or shopping center and put them together on-site. This can save on the transportation costs of raw materials and on labor while shortening the length of the build.
Off-site manufacturing can include modular construction items as well as heat exchanges, instrument panels and other complex building components. One of the main benefits of this type of manufacturing is that the components are not exposed to the elements on-site while being built, saving your project from a sudden turn of the weather. You order the components and they arrive ready to be plugged in. This can also save you the transportation costs of bringing technicians on-site to assemble the components there and reduce scheduling or timing conflicts with the rest of the build.
Computer-Aided Design has already revolutionized the construction industry, but innovations in the technology have made it easier than ever for architects, engineers and clients to work together on projects. You can generate highly accurate designs in either 2D or 3D, make changes in real-time and share files between team members. You can even incorporate virtual reality with some CAD systems to move through the building with the designer and make real-time changes before breaking ground.
Building Information Modeling
Building from CAD, building information modeling is a digital representation of the physical and functional aspects of a project. In addition to the physical dimensions such as height and length, this technology can show you the project through time, with projected budget markers and the built-in operation of the site. This gives you more precise planning and strategy tracking information designed to keep the design, construction and planning teams collaborating throughout the process.
Created by Hendrik Jonkers, this innovation is starting to take off in the construction industry. Concrete is one of the most used substances in buildings, bridges and walkways around the world, but it does have a large environmental footprint. When micro cracks form in concrete, they can quickly become big and deep enough to threaten the whole structure and repair can mean hours of work tearing down a bridge and rebuilding it from scratch. If those cracks could fix themselves before growing dangerously large, it could mean huge savings in labor and materials each year. Self-healing concrete can fix micro cracks through the incorporation of limestone-producing bacteria. Once mixed into concrete, these bacteria use heat and water to flow through and seal the cracks.
Throughout the millennia, construction innovations have made buildings safer, more functional and more valuable as investments. You can use these innovations, new and old, to take your construction project all the way through the design and build process with 3D or VR models, seamless and real-time collaboration between designers, engineers and builders and even use modular building blocks assembled in a factory and delivered to your site.