The construction industry is changing like never before. With some great advancements already taking place, in 2019 we can only expect more innovation and breakthroughs in this field. Here are some of the most significant trends that seem to have a bright future all over into the next year.
Although virtual reality (VR) has been recognized as an emerging trend for the past few years, it's increasingly being phased out by augmented reality (AR). The ability to visualize the real world of a building site through a camera lens is breeding a ton of new opportunities, despite the initial cost of the technology. For companies who can afford to start using it in its early stage, the AR will revolutionize the way they project and execute new construction. Definitely, a trend that is going to develop further in the following years, with many engineers believing that worksite operators will soon be wearing AR headsets instead of safety goggles even before the site is opened.
Growth of BIM
Definitely one of the most exciting construction technologies available today, Building Information Modelling is expected to be the main driver in changing how we manage, design, and execute construction projects. With many different levels of programming enabled, project teams could use 4D and 5D BIM to bring more accuracy to the building process and facilitate a more successful exchange of essential project information between multiple stakeholders. Already recognized as a powerful game-changer that offers a detailed presentation of the project development, in the future, the platform is expected to make construction projects more affordable by integrating revolutionary sustainability and safety measures.
Modular and pre-fabricated elements
Modular developments are projects in which individual elements are manufactured off-site and transported to the desired location without compromising the quality. This approach guarantees that building materials and supplies are sourced from single respective vendors, which guarantees uniformity. Apart from being up to 65 times quicker to complete, modular buildings are structurally more sound. Thanks to prefabricated steel frame solutions, these buildings can be easily designed to suit the application and the investor’s requirements, while lightweight steel reduces the floor loads and makes the structure resistant to rot, termites, rust, and warping. Since modular construction relies heavily on data and measurements, the increase of data use within the industry will also increase the popularity of modular construction.
Self-healing concrete could solve the problem of concrete buildings that are at risk of deteriorating much before their life expectancy. While traditional concrete tends to crack when subjected to tension, self-healing concrete contains a healing agent based on bacteria that convert nutrients into limestone. The process was first observed in so-called soda lakes, where batteries in high alkaline natural environments produce limestone biologically. When these bacteria, together with nitrogen, phosphorus and a calcium-based nutrient known as calcium lactate are mixed in traditional concrete, they can lie dormant for 200 years. However, when a concrete structure is damaged and waters states seeping into the cracks, the bacteria spores germinate and bacteria start feeding on calcium lactate, converting it into limestone that solidifies the cracked surface, mimicking the process in which bones heal up.
More and more building plans are including green technology from the very beginning of the process. Building projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient way involve everything from planning, over design, to construction, maintenance, and demolition. While these methods needn't be different than the classic building methods since the process always includes the economy, durability, and utility as its main constituents. However, along with green construction methods, there's an emerging interest in green construction projects like bricks made of recycled cigarette butts, self-healing asphalt, thermally-driven AC, and carbon-capturing facades.
This year is undoubtedly expected to be a breakthrough year for many facets of the construction industry. A data-driven sector will not only increase real-time communication and collaboration but also empower other data-dependent branches, such as modular construction and green building.