For this issue, we not only looked to the future, but also recalled the proceedings of ClayTech UK 2017. Editor Ines Nastali attended the event and was pleased to hear that the speakers and presenters didn’t shy away from acknowledging problems they face and challenges they anticipate in future and how they plan to resolve these.
Their concerns mirror on-going research and debates in the construction industry. For example, the brick industry needs to reduce its carbon emissions. News Editor Khai Trung Le has looked at research underway to detect harmful brick manufacture in Bangladesh using satellite imagery to locate sites.
So while work is underway to improve the environmental footprint of the industry and find places of wrongdoing and bad practice, attendees at ClayTech UK 2017 also debated the use of technology in construction in general.
Khai Trung Le has also looked at claims over the last two years that the sector needs to radically modernise or face decline. ‘In a 2016 index from the McKinsey Global Institute, construction was among the least digitised industries, with only agriculture and hunting ranking lower,’ he writes.
This fits in with what a team of researchers at Loughborough University has found. While the use of nanotechnology is welcomed as improvement in other industries, construction applications are not as widespread because, for example, the use of carbon nanotubes in concrete could have similar health side effects as asbestos. Turns out, as Staff Writer Ellis Davies writes, ‘there are very few cases of this being used in the real world. Most of it is in development’.
There is movement in the industry. Do get in touch and let us know how you tackle the above challenges in your work.