Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that can have the biggest impact and in an industry such as infrastructure and utilities where construction is usually on a massive scale, these small ideas can sometimes be overlooked. Fortunately the industry is seeing a wave of investment being made available for trialing prototypes with the objective of establishing commercial viability, in particular for those innovations aimed at making construction more efficient, and more circular.
Replacing single use packaging items such as wooden pallets with reusable plastic pallets is gaining greater adoption in the construction industry. The deposit based system LOOP promises several benefits. The pallets are made from recycled plastic which reduces raw materials and carbon emissions. As most wooden pallets are simply discarded once materials are offloaded, using reusable, more durable plastic pallets also reduces construction waste.
Creating products that reduce labour and time of construction have obvious bottom line benefits. Traditional methods of hard landscaping in order to lay paving is time and labour intensive. A flexible, click together sub-base system aims to improve efficiency. It’s an added bonus that the sub base tiles are lightweight and flexible and made from 100% recycled plastic.
On a bigger scale, advanced scanning technologies are being deployed on site to map progress and highlight errors as they occur so that they can be corrected earlier and at less cost to the construction process. This also improves efficiency by reducing delays.
Site safety has been a major issue these past 2 years requiring screening of workers. Technology has advanced enabling touch-less screening and scanning which verifies a person is safe to be on site. The technology scans a person’s body temperature and checks they’re wearing the correct PPE and then records the results – helping reduce manual administration at the same time.
Another way in which innovation is improving safety and efficiency is in sensor technology. Monitoring temperatures and air quality inside buildings helps to create healthier and safer urban environments.
The focus on reducing waste and improving efficiency is likely to remain a priority for main contractors. It is seen as one way to improve resilience in the face of adverse external factors such as supply chain instability and major climate events which are beyond the control of individual companies. Continued investment in innovation can help shape the industry to become more efficient and achieve the ambitious net zero goals that have been set.