At ITC Concepts, we’ve been in business for over 25 years. Over the decades we’ve seen a number of technological changes in our industry; from the introduction of CAD through to the use of project information software, such as Union Square. But the pace of change today is like nothing we’ve seen before.
With technology continuing to progress, here are three things that I think might transform the construction sector over the next 25 years.
Looking back over the years, we’ve seen clear progression around materials used in construction. In the 70s and 80s, concrete was the go-to building material. In the 90s, we began to rely heavily on metals and today we have a fixation on glass. Could a ‘clear metal’ be the material of choice in the future? Transparent metal materials could be used to construct towering glass-walled skyscrapers that require less internal support, making buildings cheaper and allowing for greater versatility with interior fit-out options. With the elimination of opaque metals, interior spaces could be transformed into light and airy paradises and truly change the way we interact with buildings and workplaces in the future.
Even modern buildings struggle to control energy costs due to insulation issues. Whilst we’ve seen a number of improvements over the years, new technologies such as AeroGel, a foam-like solid material, have been earmarked as the future of highly efficient insulation. As one of the least dense materials on earth, AeroGel could transform the way buildings are insulated and make sure they’re kept cool in the heat and hot in the cold. Encouragingly, the technology for this is already there, it’s just currently too expensive to implement at scale. But this could all change in the next few years as it becomes cheaper to produce, demand for it grows, and new products enter the market.
We’ve all seen the sci-fi movies where the walls change colour depending on your mood and digital dashboards are incorporated onto windows. Whilst these might be a way off from hitting the mainstream, ‘smart interiors’ are becoming increasingly popular. Temperature reactive tiles are already prevalent and “come alive” with changing surface temperatures. At room temperature, the tiles are a glossy black, but change colour when they are touched or warmed up. Elsewhere, technology similar to Amazon Dash could be hard-wired into interior structures, making it easier for facilities managers to keep buildings in tip-top condition.
So, there you have it. My prediction for three technologies that could transform the way we build things in the not too distant future!
Ian Conway, Managing Director