New materials are being introduced into the construction industry at a very fast pace. The need for new materials that will help the CM/GC to perform better and to achieve productivity increases is being met. The new buzzword "LEED" (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is also forcing manufacturers to develop new and improved sustainability products. The following are some of the innovations occurring in the construction industry:
1. The use of reinforcing steel that has yield stresses of 125,000 psi. According to an August 27/September 3, 2007 Engineering News-Record article, the high strength reinforcing steel makes it easier to pour concrete in columns. The number of reinforcing bars required to support the load was reduced due to the higher strength steel. The higher strength reinforcing steel is more expensive then the standard yield bars of 60,000 psi, but pouring of the concrete into the column forms was simplified.
2 The use of waterless urinals is being touted as a way to not only save water but also to increase plumbing productivity by eliminating water supply pipes, flushometers, and pressure reducing valves.
3. The use of self-compacting concrete (SCC) has made an impact on the way concrete is being poured. According to Concrete Centre, with the use of super plasticizers and a stabilizer the concrete is able to achieve consolidation into the formwork without segregation of the aggregate. The method was developed in Japan during the early 1990s and has now been successfully used in the United States. The use of SCC achieves the following:
• Vibration crews are eliminated.
• The over-vibrating of the concrete by the crews with the possibility of aggregate segregation is also eliminated.
• Noise from construction is reduced.
• Pouring concrete is increased.
4. Pumping of concrete has achieved new levels on the Burj Dubai tower project. Pumping to a height of 1971 feet was accomplished in November 2007. As noted by Putzmeister (concrete pump supplier) and Unimix (concrete subcontractor), the concrete consisted of a very low water-to-cement ratio and high strength concrete. Due to the high daytime temperatures, it was necessary to place ice water in the mix and to pump at night.
5. A November 2007 Civil Engineering Magazine article stated that fiber reinforced concrete could greatly increase the ability of slab-to-column connections to withstand earthquake forces.
6. The industry has developed a mechanism for eliminating the machine room for traction elevators. In this process, a traction motor is placed on the side of the rail and coated steel belts are used in lieu of cables. Exhibit 22-4 is a diagram of how the Kone traction motor operates without the need for an elevator machine room. This new equipment reduces space in a building and reduces some of the structure that initially was required to support the floor and equipment in an elevator machine room. In addition, the building structure is reduced because the floor no longer has to support the load of the heavy elevator machines.
7. In New Jersey where a new stadium is being constructed for the local football team, the CM/GC is tracking 3200 precast risers by radio frequency identification (RFID), which is embedded in the precast unit. The contractor then can check the status of each piece of riser from fabrication to when it is shipped to the site. In an urban environment, where storage is at a premium, tracking of critical components is a must. The old method of telephoning or E-mailing the supplier to find out the status of the component will now become passé. RFID has the ability to track any product and obtain a real-time status report.
8. The use of more energy efficient products and systems. This includes chillers, cooling towers, lighting, and exterior glass.
9. The industry is finding more-efficient ways to recycle construction material waste.
10. Laser scanners are being used to take site conditions and convert them into realtime 3D drawings, take inventory of materials, and show punch list items.
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