For decades together, the industry has always relied on traditional, ancient and deep-rooted materials and resources for its sheer existence. Commonly used raw materials like stone, concrete and wood have been used for decades and decades for several reasons — Ease of availability, convenience, and cost. But over time, the industry is seeing a change. As life takes its course adapting to the current situation, it has certainly impacted the way in which construction is carried out.
Albeit the construction industry broadening its horizons with more and more things coming in to play; From commercial buildings to high rise apartment buildings, the demand to keep up is picking up pace and so is the need for more sustainable, durable material and resources.
Thus, the time has come for innovation!
Industry experts, engineers, architects and other key players in the field have been exploring and working on creating newer and more effective ways to use the existing materials. Some have turned out to be pretty good and some are still in the early stages so can’t assess its performance.
Here are a few noteworthy ones that are worth a good read;
Regarding concrete, a timeless classic which forms the foundational base for a structure, is highly durable and yet, is vulnerable to weather change. In cold climates, the moisture and the salt make it melt, seeps into the floors and can cause putting, cracking, flaking, and chips. It can also lead to more damage if left unattended. To combat these issues, Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC), High-Performance Concrete (HPC), Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC), Durable Concrete, and a few others are new age products that have been introduced that are more durable and structurally strong.
Widely known and used for its strength and flexibility, steel is largely used depending on the type and the size of the project. Hot rolled steel is the most sought after for big commercial work and cold formed steel is preferred for smaller, homelier projects. The best part about steel is the fact that it holds good when it comes to recycling, doesn’t combust and is termite proof.
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)
On the exterior front, a new array of products is making waves. To start with, Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are multifaceted and have also evolved over time. First used in Germany and then the American market, these systems, commonly also known as External Thermal Insulation Cladding Systems (ETICS), consist of insulation board that are attached to substrates with strong mechanics. Just like concrete, these systems have also evolved over time and outperformed some of its competitors such as bricks, stucco and fibreboard. They are cost effective and less threatening for the environment as well.
Made from 65% wood that’s mixed with plastic fibers such as polyethylene (PE), wood plastic composites (WPCs) are slowly gaining popularity. This is also just like every other inventio, this too has its pros and cons. Although its resistance to insects, wooden boards made from these composites are not very firm and strong as real wood. And the fact that it absorbs a bit of moisture doesn’t make it very suitable for extreme climatic conditions. The only current plus factor it holds at the moment is, its usage in a place that can handle the weight. But then again, there is room for improvement, and they are working on it.
Evolving is a part and parcel of life, and the same logic applies to the field of construction. It will keep changing and adapting to whichever environment it is thrown into. While the traditional materials like wood, stone and concrete will continue to play a major role, the same materials will also see changes and to meet the demands of the industry’s needs.
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