Will New Construction Materials Revolutionize the Industry?

Tough, long-lasting construction materials such as concrete and steel have consistently been the standard for the industry. However, newer materials, including many types of composites, are becoming more popular for use in construction projects.

The Next Wave of Construction Materials

construction materialsIn an article on the website Construction Dive, reporter Kim Slowey reports on the increasing use of composites and how they could dramatically change what kinds of materials are used in and the way buildings are constructed.

Composite materials, including fiberglass, structural plastics and carbon fiber, have the potential to revolutionize the construction industry and the way buildings are put together, noted architect Greg Lynn, quoted in Slowey’s article.

Lynn reported that composites and the strong, fast-drying adhesives used to put them together could be used in many applications where steel and concrete have traditionally been used.

Probably the most dramatic application, according to Lynn, would be using composites and adhesives in the construction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. Many types of composites are significantly cheaper than traditional building materials. At the same time, composites can provide equal or greater strength while also being lighter and easier to handle.

Composite construction of skyscrapers, Lynn stated in the article, would result in buildings that could better withstand the stresses of an earthquake by reducing building movement. Composite and adhesive construction is also less costly than traditional building methods.

Slowey noted that another type of new sustainable construction material, cross-laminated timber (CLT), is also gaining popularity for use in building high-rise structures.

Potential Drawbacks

Understandably, the use of these materials has not yet become widespread. Overcoming perceptions about composite construction will be a major hurdle for its advocates. For example, tenants may not be eager to occupy space in what they perceive as a “glued together” skyscraper. Anything less than standard concrete and steel may be seen as inferior or unsafe.

Construction Monitor gives today’s construction companies the edge they need with information on the latest industry developments and construction leads. Contact us today for more information on the use of composites and other types of new construction materials and how these materials could change the way projects are planned, built and maintained.

New Report: Construction Material Costs Continue to Slide

Prices for construction materials continued to decrease in the early part of 2016, although industry experts expect those prices to start moving upward in early spring and later.

construction material costsFebruary 2016 marked the eighth consecutive month of material price decreases, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a major industry trade group.

Construction input prices were down 0.6 percent in February 2016, marking a 3.7 percent decrease since February 2015, the ABC reported. Nonresidential inputs showed a 0.7 percent decrease from January 2016 and a 3.8 percent decline since February 2015, according to the ABC.

The ABC’s findings were reached following an analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index released on March 15, 2016.

Prices slid downward in eight key areas, the ABC noted. These include:

  • Crude petroleum
  • Unprocessed energy material
  • Fabricated structural metal
  • Steel mill products
  • Plumbing fixtures and fittings
  • Nonferrous wire and cable
  • Iron and steel
  • Softwood lumber.

In contrast, only three areas experienced increases in February 2016.

  • Prepared asphalt and tar/roofing and siding products
  • Concrete products
  • Natural gas

Anirban Basu, the ABC’s chief economist, found that global financial issues, such as weakness in the commodity markets, lackluster economic growth in the United States and abroad, and strengthening of the U.S. dollar contributed to the cost declines.

The price decreases are not expected to last throughout the year, however. The ABC expects prices to rebound beginning in March 2016 or later. Upticks in prices are not expected to be substantial, however, noted reporter Emily Peiffer, writing on the Construction Dive website.

Peiffer also reported that declining construction material costs have harmed the U.S. energy sector and the regional and local economies that rely on it. Even a modest increase in prices in March or later is expected to help give those economies a boost, Peiffer noted.

Construction Monitor is the industry’s top source for construction leads and news and information on topics that affect building projects throughout the United States. Contact us today for more information on changes in construction material costs and how you can take best advantage of the recent decreases in material prices.

Lumber Liquidators Under Fire After Reports of Formaldehyde in Flooring Products

Lumber Liquidators, a discount flooring supplier based in Toano, Virginia, is alleged to have been selling hardwood flooring imported from China that contains high levels of the chemical formaldehyde. The allegations against the company were made in a report by the television news program “60 Minutes.”

Continue reading Lumber Liquidators Under Fire After Reports of Formaldehyde in Flooring Products

Construction Materials of the Future: What to Know About These New Options

construction materialsIn this era of high-tech research and development no sector stands still, including the construction materials industry. New methods to reduce the labor intensity of construction while promoting values like energy conservation, environmental suitability and superior performance are emerging in laboratories and may one day arrive at the worksite. Though 2x4s and masonry won’t disappear anytime soon, expect some of these advances to take their place among the construction materials of the future.   Continue reading Construction Materials of the Future: What to Know About These New Options