Innovation in construction is essential for growth. The industry strives to remain competitive using a variety of approaches to engage structured initiatives, linked to proven innovation concepts, techniques, and applications.
Construction innovation from an unlikely source!
Concrete is the most widely used man-made material. It has been used for centuries, we can see traces of it as far back as the Roman Empire, i.e. Roman Pantheon and the Colosseum. Over the centuries it has been modified and advanced so it could be used in different conditions and for different architectural designs.
A method for producing Portland cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824. Reinforced concrete was invented in 1849 by Joseph Monier. In 1889 the first concrete reinforced bridge was built, and the first large concrete dams were built in 1936, Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. No matter how it was changed, advanced or mixed; today as in the past, concrete still eventually crack under pressure.
An invention by Delft University microbiologist Hendrik Jonkers offers an innovative approach to creating more stable concrete by adding limestone-producing bacteria to the mix. This self-healing bioconcrete aims to provide a cheap and sustainable solution, markedly improving the lifespan of buildings, bridges, and roads.
When Hendrik Jonkers was looking for a way to improve the strength and longevity of concrete, he didn’t turn to the steel or stone techniques refined by countless engineers, but instead to an unlikely source for inspiration: the human body.
Thinking about how human bones are healed naturally through mineralisation from osteoblast cells, Jonkers set about creating a similar self-regeneration technique for our most widely used construction material.
The solution he came up with employs a limestone-producing bacteria, to close gaps in concrete. The robust, naturally occurring bacteria ̶ eithBacillus pseudofirmus or Sporosarcina pasteurii, exist in highly alkaline lakes near volcanoes and seems tailor-made for the job. They are able to lie dormant for up to 200 years and only begin important repair work after cracks appear and come into contact with water.
He calls the material “bioconcrete” that can “self-heal.”
The future is 3D
Before we elaborate on Cybercity3D, you need to know what a smart city is.
Smart City: integrate ICT (information and communication technology) and IoT (Internet of things) technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets. It uses urban informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services. ICT allows city officials to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure, to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life.
3D modeling: is the use of software to create a virtual three-dimensional model of some physical object. Once a model is adequately built, an artist may arrange the coordinates of the model to match its 2D textures in a process called UV mapping.
Cybercity3D: generates high-resolution building models from stereo imagery that can be exported into virtually all leading 3D formats. CyberCity 3D buildings are loaded with precise measurements with room for custom info that can be tailored to your project.
CyberCity3D (CC3D) is a geospatial modelling innovator specialising in the production of smart 3D building models. It creates smart digital 3D buildings to help the architectural, engineering and construction sector visualise and communicate design and data with CC3D proprietary software.
A window of opportunity
UV light shines through a sample of transparent material containing quantum dots, tiny nanoparticles that can be used to harness solar energy for electricity.
Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells (by scientists), convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV gets its name from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect.
By turning your glass windows into solar panels the building can actually generate energy.
Polysolar provides transparent photovoltaic glass as a structural building material, forming windows, façades and roofs.
Tweet this: By turning your glass windows into solar panels the building can actually generate energy.
The advantages of solar power as a source of clean, renewable energy seem obvious. Sunlight is abundant and free. A Joint research team from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy is trying a fresh approach to solar power. Working with quantum dots, the team achieved a breakthrough in solar-concentrating technology that can turn windows into electric generators and revolutionize the way we think about where and how we generate energy.
Turning windows into solar collectors are the kind of disruptive technology that can revolutionize energy generation and consumption and contribute to a low-carbon energy future.
‘Meccano set advertising billboards’ has made a big impact on the advertising market in the last 10 years. Being able to transport ready-made structures that can be broken up into pieces and then reconstructed on site was revolutionary and very cost effective.
Modular Construction is the same concept but with buildings. Buildings are constructed off-site in a factory using the same material and same standards as on-site. They are assembled as large volumetric components or as substantial elements of a building.
Introducing these new innovations to your projects might seem risky to the naked eye but weighing up the advantages of becoming more productive, efficient and effective cannot be undervalued.
George Martin, Head of Sustainable Development at Willmott Dixon Re-Thinking, said: “We set up the Re-Thinking division, in 2006, solely as an internal consultancy to push our boundaries. Innovation in materials, technologies and practices is core to our business strategy at board level.”
Give us some feedback on how you are introducing new innovations into your projects?