We’re always looking for ways to upgrade or enhance our lives and whether it’s researching an alternative mode of transport or taking a new approach to how we pay for things, the race is on to become bigger and better.
Construction can also be added to that list and its future looks bright. Although a shortage in skilled workers is the current talking point for the construction industry – as housing developments are rolled out more slowly than expected and the Government throws out incentives and apprenticeship schemes to entice people into skilled trade roles.
Whether these people move into quantity surveying or work installing products for an underfloor heating company, they are all needed to action the ideas now being put forward for the industry’s future. Though in the end the lack of skilled workers probably won’t be an issue anyway because we’ll have robots to do the job for us.
Seriously – researchers at Harvard University have created the TERMES system, which involves a robot crew working together and assembling complex 3D structures. Inspired by termites that define the word teamwork and create huge structures for their nests, the robots will more than likely shape the way construction is completed in the future.
Ease and customisation will be the two main themes in the construction industry’s future and have already kicked off with the offering of prefab, flat pack homes that are proving popular in Germany and the US and growing in use over here in the UK.
The TERMES robot crew will probably be assigned the role of constructing these houses, as we humans put our feet up, like the characters in Wall-E, and watch them work. However, we will have to go about creating new job roles for the skilled workers who have been made redundant by their robot replacements. But don’t worry; we’re not quite there yet.
These flat-pack, prefab properties are made with the environment in mind and can be plopped down anywhere you choose, then deconstructed and moved somewhere else when you fancy a change of scenery.
From innovative Lego style houses to 3D printed ones, now. Should this idea catch on the construction industry’s future looks innovative and customisable but definitely not environmentally friendly and sustainable.
A Chinese construction company has already proved it can be done by printing walls using a concrete material that were then built up in layers to construct a 1,100 square meter house. Whilst such a real construction project won’t be underway anytime soon it simply proves that through trial and error the future of the construction industry could allow it to move away from bricks and mortar and opt for multi layered, 3D printed walls for properties.
From a concept that will more than likely wreak havoc on the environment, to a more sustainable method of future construction we have wood as a material for houses and even skyscrapers. Okay, it’s not an entirely new concept but Architect Michael Green believes that wood should in future be chosen over concrete and steel.
At a TED talk (which you can watch here) Green detailed how using wood will help reduce the construction industry’s carbon footprint and how it can be sustainably sourced and used to create mass timber panels. Architects can use Green’s building schematics for using wood in buildings now and he hopes that in the future developers will move away from traditional building materials and get back to nature.
The future of the construction industry looks to be an innovative one, as we start to really dabble in new ways of building and the materials used. Let’s just hope those termite style robots don’t become self aware and cause carnage.
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