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Climate Change Could Alter the Construction Industry and Here’s How

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Climate change has impacted everyone in different ways. Even skeptics are seeing record temperatures, disastrous storm cells and enormous glacial masses breaking off the Antarctic shelf.

These environmental shifts create significant issues for the construction industry and personnel. Because of this global concern new standards are introduced, and an innovative and adaptive workforce has never been sought out more.

Innovation is of critical importance as a result of the changing construction standards and the environmentally-friendly movement, consequently relying on stronger buildings with a lower carbon footprint. In many cases, individuals and businesses are willing to pay larger sums of money to have innovative technology and innovative materials installed to protect their property from weather damage. Especially considering damage repair costs generally outweigh the upfront cost of having a home or business protected.

In areas prone to flooding, construction personnel must install the necessary mechanisms to counter water damage. 

Because of extreme weather conditions across the world, new legislation and high industry standards are being implemented to protect tenants from the elements. In areas prone to flooding, construction personnel must install the necessary mechanisms to counter water damage. The same is applicable to areas that often experience cyclones, hurricanes, or rising sea levels.

Harsh environmental elements are forcing industry and government bodies to enforce stricter standards on the construction industry. Although innovation is an important element, the use of higher quality materials and thorough inspections are just as significant. These increase the cost of construction, subsequently increasing innovation for price reduction.

 Extreme weather conditions are not only altering the materials and legislation throughout the industry, but actually has a bearing over the time it takes to complete a project. High temperatures alone can result in concrete taking far longer to cure. They can also lead up to halting of construction because of the risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Extreme temperatures, more storms, hotter summers, colder winters – all of these cause enormous changes to project timelines, ultimately leading to increased costs. These costs are then passed down the line to the everyday consumer.

Extreme temperatures, more storms, hotter summers, colder winters – all of these  will ultimately leading to increased costs. 

To assist the push towards environmentally compatible buildings, engineering groups have recently partnered with construction industry leaders to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and public infrastructure, including bridges, public transpor,t and infrastructure.

Professors of Civil Engineering, Heather MacLean, Brenda McCabe, Daman Panesar, Daniel Posen and Shoshanna Saxe have partnered with EllisDon, a major construction and building service. The company and its partners, including BASF and WSP, are aiming at elevating efficiency and sustainability in the construction industry.

The team quickly recognised that science-based support of decisions in the early stages of construction is a key element to ensure a lower carbon footprint. The team plan to analyse data from previously constructed projects and publicly available databases to create digital tools that predict environmental impact.

Heather MacLean, one of the civil engineers running the project discusses the decision process: “The decisions that have the most impact are the ones that are made early in the process. These include how big it’s going to be, or what materials it will be made of. Once those are set, it really puts limits on how low the overall emissions can get.

“Large-scale infrastructure projects are complex, consisting of many different construction activities, along with associated inputs of material and energy. We don’t yet have good data about the on-site and supply-chain emissions associated with these inputs, especially those specific to the Ontario context. If we can cut down on that uncertainty, it will greatly help inform these types of decisions.” (Phys.org)

Climate change and environmental damage is an issue that ultimately impacts everyone, causing uncertainty in the future of every industry. 

The team are actively searching for graduate students who will be responsible for collecting and analysing the data, continuing to work closely with industry partners as they continue the project.

Climate change and environmental damage is an issue that ultimately impacts everyone, causing uncertainty in the future of every industry. Reducing waste and carbon footprint to have a more efficient construction process will result in a more sustainable future for society as a whole.

If you liked this article, here are a few eBookswebinars, and case studies you may enjoy:

Is Green Building Worth It?

Go Lean, Get Green – Planning for More Profit with Lean Construction

Prime Constructions Study

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