The construction industry is going digital and things are moving fast. We dug a little deeper into a few key areas which are likely to have a great impact on the industry in the years to come.
This blog post continues our new weekly series discussing the 6 key trends in the construction industry, one topic at a time. You can find the previous topics here:
- VR, AR and MR – they’re here to help
- Digital models as legal documents
- Easy-access models in the Cloud
- Robots can keep working during construction site downtimes
If you would prefer, you can also download the whole 6 Key trends in the construction industry article now in PDF format.
Key trends in the construction industry
The construction industry, often seen as a relatively conservative field, has over the last few years started to change rapidly. New technology has become available, and it is helping to make construction processes both simpler and easier to manage.
“You can see the parallels with the vehicle industry, which was able to streamline its production processes at an early stage. Eight to ten years ago, the construction industry started heading in the same direction, and now things are moving fast”, says Markus Waser, Head of Training in Construction Technology and Community Construction at Yrgo in Gothenburg.
3D printers in construction
All over the world, people are trying to make buildings using 3D printers. Researchers in California have succeeded in printing and building a house in just 24 hours using this technology. In China, such experiments have been taken one step further, using a 3D printer to produce as many as ten houses in one day in the factory. The building material consists of recycled construction material, material left over from the industry, and cement. The Chinese researchers claim that this allows them to cut construction costs by fifty per cent.
Such tests are also being carried out in Europe. In Copenhagen, a 3D concrete printer is being used to build a small office space, while a plastic house is being built directly on-site in an experiment in the Netherlands. At the University of Umeå in Sweden, a team is working to develop a technique for making large-scale 3D print-outs using a cellulose-based material. This could be used for anything from window mouldings and doors to walls – or even an entire house.
The benefits associated with 3D printing include reduced material waste and increased recycling. The technique also offers space for greater architectural freedom, as 3D printers can handle curved shapes that are harder to make by hand.
“If this technology starts being used, we’re going to see some big changes. It offers a way of streamlining the production process, and if we can minimise production costs, the price of new houses will go down”, says Markus Waser of Yrgo.