As the construction industry responds to climate change and calls to use more sustainable materials, timber is growing in importance.
Some construction firms are well down the path toward a technologically enhanced future, with robots, drones, cloud-based resources and acres of software. But others have work to do. So what should they be thinking about?
Given the level of carbon emissions construction generates, the industry knows it has to smarten up its environmental act. Part of the sector’s response will be to embrace more green construction materials, while some, like timber, have been a part of the industry for centuries.
Plastic is a dirty word among those who are concerned about its impact on the environment. However, in construction plastic is playing an increasingly important role in helping deliver pipes, cabling, roofing products and other elements that make up the built environment.
Homes have been created underground since prehistoric times, but with the climate emergency getting worse and the issue of land availability becoming more pressing, could we see the construction of more subterranean homes?
The construction industry lags many other sectors when it comes to adopting technology. Could robotics be the answer to the sector’s skill shortage and help deliver faster, better-quality buildings?
The collapse of contracting giant Carillion offered a lesson for the construction sector. It reminded the industry of the need to carry out jobs for the right amount of money and to maintain good cash flow. It has also led to the sector looking at new technologies such as cryptocurrency to smooth out cash flow issues.
Engineers have a crucial role to play in making the built environment greener, particularly when it comes to delivering infrastructure that impacts the world around us. In an interview with Bluebeam, expert Tim Chapman of Arup and the Institution of Civil Engineers spells out what needs to be done.
It’s imperative that the construction sector is representative of the society it serves
The construction industry needs to address not only the operational carbon of a building – what it emits throughout its use – but the embodied carbon in buildings, which is linked to the materials used to deliver it, along with the construction activity itself
Construction activity generates around 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, with much of that coming from the heavy equipment used on building sites. That’s why it’s not surprising that the race is on to develop heavy machinery that can be powered by more environmentally friendly means than diesel.
By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. The pressure on the Earth’s resources will be immense, but with careful planning urban areas can becomes circular cities: centres of sustainability and fairer economies.