BLOG: Innovation in Construction? Really?

When you think of construction, what do you see? Men in hard hats? High vis clothing and still saws? Whatever you see, I’m willing to bet the image in your mind denotes neither innovation nor dynamism. Perhaps it’s just not something the sector is very good at?

Wrong. If the sector is guilty of anything here, it’s of hiding its light under a bushel and failing to make clear just what a powerhouse of innovation it really it. Yes, time honoured methods of construction, passed down from generations of skilled tradespeople will always play a massive part in our industry. But more often than not, those same people who are relied upon to deploy knowledge of traditional construction are called upon time and again to come up with new solutions to very complex problems. And, in doing so, are increasingly using technology, cutting edge materials and mind-boggling product application to get results that stand up to the demands of our modern world. Indeed, construction is all about constant innovation.

Innovation Trends in Construction
Innovation and creativity in construction is encouraged through grants, collaboration, access to new technologies and innovation programmes. Increasingly, it’s also demanded by exacting clients, ambitious to see the best possible building performance. The most popular areas of innovation at the moment are (unsurprisingly) carbon reduction, sustainable energy, improved off-site fabrication and training. According to recent surveys, 83% of construction companies say that innovation is top priority for the future of construction. It certainly is here at Barclay Roofing.

Mind Boggling Materials and Techniques
Bricks that absorb pollution, roof tiles that generate energy, conductive concrete, and biodegradable furniture. In China, the first 3D printed housing communities are even being trialled. Some of the latest construction materials will bend your brain if you think about them for too long. Often created in response to specific environmental and safety concerns, they combine modern technology with traditional construction techniques to produce new ways of building.

Innovating the Barclay Roofing Way
Here at Barclay Roofing, we might not be scaling the sides of buildings like the Bahrain World Trade Center – a pioneer of renewable and passive energy reduction and the world’s first skyscraper to be designed with integrated wind turbines – just yet. But, as a sizable SME in the construction industry, we are seeing massive changes in materials and design, and as a result, are increasingly excited about where these innovations may go and how they’ll impact businesses like ours.

Innovative projects that we’ve been involved with recently include Durham University Gateway Building, University of Sunderland’s Sciences Complex, University of Teesside’s Cornell Quarter, Newcastle Airport’s new Meet and Greet Facilities and the Tree Houses at Ramside Hall. All use cutting edge materials, techniques or applications alongside time honoured construction methods to produce outstanding performance, serious eco-credentials and exceptional aesthetic appeal.

Creative Careers
All of these innovations open up massive opportunity for career development in the industry. Children sitting in the classroom right now could conceivably become the 3D visualisers, Building Ecologists , or Hydrographic Surveyors of the future. But, this bold vision isn’t something that exists solely in the future. It’s happening right here, right now, and Barclay Roofing is only too happy to be in the thick of this exciting revolution.