The building materials industry is in a state of flux. Rapid changes in technology, the economy and environmental regulations affect how building materials are produced, used, and recycled. For material suppliers, these changes have made it challenging to stay ahead of the curve and know what to expect from customers and contractors in the built environment and UK construction industry.
As we move into the future, a few key trends will likely have a major impact on the industry. Here are five of the most important ones to watch out for.
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1. A Shift Towards Sustainable Materials
There is an increasing focus on sustainability in the building materials industry, mainly driven by regulatory pressure and consumer demand. According to an Allied Market Research report, the sustainable or “green” building materials market is forecasted to reach $511.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2021. Recycled materials, for example, are becoming more popular, as are materials with a low carbon footprint.
Demand for companies to reduce their environmental impact is also driven by the Environment Act 2021, the official post-Brexit framework that creates legally enforceable targets for air and water pollution, waste management and biodiversity among other things.
Material suppliers can demonstrate compliance with environmental regulations by achieving verification through schemes like Verified Supplier — a compliance service by CHAS that verifies a supplier’s adherence to best practices in environmental management, health and safety, modern slavery and more.
2. 3D Printing Gains Ground in Construction
Additive manufacturing, or 3D, enables the production of complex structures made from different materials, including concrete, metal, and plastic. The possibilities are exciting; a few years ago, construction giants like Vinci and BAM began experimenting with concrete 3D printing applications in the construction industry. It’s a market estimated to be worth $56.4 million in 2021, with projections predicting it to reach $1.6 billion by 2027.
Although 3D-printed concrete is still in its early stages, it has the potential to completely change how buildings are designed and constructed.
3. Prefabrication Continues to Grow
Prefabrication is another area that is experiencing rapid growth. This involves manufacturing building components in a factory before assembling them on-site.
Prefabrication has many advantages, including reduced construction times, improved quality control and applications for faster modular construction. This process involves assembling prefabricated modules to create structures.
Prefabricated materials are also becoming increasingly popular in the residential construction sector, as it offers a more efficient way to build houses.
4. The Push for Sustainability Increases Focus on Energy Efficiency
There is a growing awareness of the need to reduce energy consumption in the built environment. This is driving an increase in the use of energy-efficient building materials.
Insulation, for example, is becoming more widely used to reduce heat loss from buildings. Alternatively, solar panels are being installed on an increasing number of rooftops to generate renewable energy.
5. Digital Technologies Become More Accessible
Digital technologies are also changing the building materials industry. For example, construction companies use drones and LiDAR scanning to create accurate models of potential construction sites at unrivalled speeds. In addition, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming increasingly popular. This digital construction approach enables all project team members to work from a common data set.
These are just some of the trends that are shaping the future of the building materials industry. As we move into the future, we expect to see even more changes and innovations in this sector.
Author: Alex Minett
Alex Minett is the Head of Product & Markets at CHAS, the UK’s leading health and safety assessment scheme and provider of risk mitigation, compliance, and supply chain management services. With a working history in the audit and management consulting industry, Alex is experienced in implementing visions and strategies. Skilled in negotiation, management and business development, he is passionate about driving CHAS in its mission to safeguard organisations from risk in the UK.
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