Technology driving change in concrete industry
Ahead of the annual World of Concrete expo, concrete maker QUIKRETE has revealed what it considers major trends that will permeate the industry in the coming years. The company, according to a release, anticipates these trends will influence the way manufacturers, contractors, specifiers, dealers, distributors and architects approach building, repair, restoration and remodeling with concrete and like materials.
- The desire to increase jobsite efficiency, consistency and quality while reducing material and labor costs remains a priority. Few other building materials can help keep a project on schedule and on budget like pre-mixed concrete. Such products can cure as quickly as one hour to allow for work around the area and be hardened enough for workers to walk on within three hours.
- Another key issue driving the need for fast-setting, high-early strength concrete is an aging transportation infrastructure littered with deteriorated roadways, bridges and tunnels. As a result, hundreds of billions of federal and state dollars are being allocated to rehabilitate the country’s transportation infrastructure. Beyond the cost, the challenge of restoring unsafe roadways, bridges and tunnels is minimizing traffic disruptions during the process. The material allows for repairs to meet necessary structural and cost requirements and are used primarily overnight and during other low traffic times, with traffic lanes open by morning rush hour.
- Green building remains a construction focus with billions of square feet of office space U.S. Green Building Council LEED certified in 2015. While concrete and mortars may not seem like obvious contributors to environmentally-friendly building, advances in manufacturing technology highlighted by the use of post-consumable materials like recycled concrete aggregates and slag cement can contribute to LEED certification. Slag cement, a by-product of iron ore transformed from iron during the molten process in a blast furnace, reduces landfill waste, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, concrete companies can serve as good stewards of the environment.
- Similar to misperceptions about its environmentally-friendly viability, concrete’s aesthetic versatility is becoming more prevalent among contractors. In addition to using concrete to fulfill the structural requirements of a project, many interior and exterior designs call for the visual appearance of concrete surfaces to be elevated. Stamping, polishing, etching and painting are well-represented in the concrete décor community, but staining may be the most permanent way to transform an ordinary concrete slab.
- The concrete industry is also benefitting from advanced technology beyond new product development and quality control. Recently, QUIKRETE launched a mobile app so contractors can access the project and product information they need from anywhere. The interactive functionality provides real-time, downloadable and sharable product data sheets and SDS sheets, as well as material calculators and where-to buy locations.
Topics: Architectural Firms, Brick - All Applications, Building Owners and Managers, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Engineering Firms, Exteriors, Hardscaping / Pavers / Other, Urban Planning and Design