The Latest Trends in Concrete Technology – LBM Research Associates

Amazing! The Latest Trends in Concrete Technology – LBM Research Associates

Information about The Latest Trends in Concrete Technology – LBM Research Associates

Phil Puccio

Technology is playing a bigger role in our lives every day, and it’s no different in the concrete industry. They know building contractors and construction companies got to adopt new concrete technology to survive.

The reasons for this are rising construction costs, the steadily increasing need for increased efficiency and the shortage of skilled workers. A recent US Commercial Construction Index found that more than 90 percent of contractors, site managers and contractors surveyed had difficulty finding skilled workers.

Contractors and businesses can overcome these challenges by taking advantage of the latest trends in concrete technology.

The top 10 trends in concrete technology

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

At its most basic level, BIM is 3D design and modeling software that provides architecture, engineering and construction (ACE) professionals with tools and insights into planning, designing, constructing and managing projects.

BIM has been around for decades, but as technology has advanced, it has become more than just a 3D model. It is a collaborative process that enables all relevant parties in a project to work together.

Within a BIM model there are BIM objects in which an intelligence layer is built. When an element in the model changes, the BIM software updates the model and creates a collaborative and consistent environment in which architects, engineers and contractors can work together.

The BIM model stores data that is held in a common data environment (CDE). The data provides valuable and actionable information, not just during the planning and design process, but throughout construction and beyond. It can even be used for future renovations.

There are different BIM levels, ranging from zero to three. A higher level indicates an increased flow of information and knowledge exchange throughout the process.

For the construction industry, BIM enables the digitization of the construction site and the linking of important information for all project phases. It improves the supply chain and reduces waste, errors and delays.

Specific advantages of BIM include:

  • Improved communication and collaboration throughout the project
  • Improved Productivity
  • Easier and more reliable design process, reducing errors in the execution phase
  • Increased transparency of the information that can be used during the quotation and procurement process
  • Earlier failure detection
  • Fewer change orders
  • Shorter project duration
  • Higher quality product

Leading BIM software includes Autodesk BIM 360, Revit and BIMx.

As the construction industry moves more towards collaboration and digital technology, BIM is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, in some countries the use of BIM is already mandatory for certain projects. In response to this increased use, the International Standards Organization (ISO) recently released the first set of global standards for BIM to help contractors around the world work together more effectively.

Smart equipment

IoT sensors and GPS trackers on concrete construction machines can improve the production cycle and enable predictive maintenance.

Contractors can monitor cement mixers and other equipment for their health and receive an alert if something is wrong. Assets can be looked after at the first sign of a problem. Problems can be addressed before they become a major headache and get in the way of a job.

GPS trackers keep the foremen up to date in real time when cement trucks are on the move. This data enables foremen to plan jobs accordingly and react quickly to avoid delays when they arise.

Ultra high performance concrete (UHPC)

UHPC is a new concrete technology that contains several novel ingredients, including fibers, but retains 80% of conventional concrete. The fibers vary in strength from polyester to stainless steel, each of which adds strength and durability to the end product.

UHPC has a longer service life of more than 75 years compared to conventional concrete with a service life of 15-25 years. It also has a compressive strength of approximately 30,000 psi compared to the typical 4,000 psi for traditional concrete.

Other benefits include remarkable resistance to moisture penetration and environmental degradation, flexibility, ductility, and adhesiveness.

UHPC has been around since 2000, but in recent years the U.S. federal and state governments have advocated its use, particularly on U.S. bridges and highways. With government support for UHPC combined with its superior quality and durability, we expect adoption to spread quickly.

Indeed, the global UHPC market is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate (CAGR) of. grows 6.92 percent between 2017 and 2023.

Build off-site

Build off-site refers to the design, manufacture and assembly of items in a different location than the actual location where they will be installed. Precast concrete / precast concrete is one of the most common off-site techniques used in construction work.

This approach used to be reserved for larger projects, but as skilled labor becomes scarce and projects need to be completed faster, the off-site shift has increased. The benefits include efficiency, improved safety, cost reduction, speed, and more consistent quality.

Self-healing concrete

In the case of cracks in concrete, water and air penetrate, which accelerates the breakdown of the concrete. What if concrete could stop the degradation process and heal itself?

Innovations are taking shape with a concrete that contains bacteria that, upon contact with water and air, form limestone and repair the crack. This self-healing concrete is produced for new mixes and as a repair mortar for existing structures.

Other self-healing techniques that are being explored include hydrogels, which swell when water penetrates, and polymeric capsules, which break when cracks form. Once broken, the polymers inside the capsule seal the crack.

Of course, these more advanced types of concrete cost more money to begin with – but if they can extend the life of concrete structures, they may be less costly in the long run.

Graphic concrete

Visual interest and design are combined in graphic concrete. This technology is used on precast concrete parts to create a patterned surface.

Images can also be applied. The concrete itself lasts just as long as the plain version. Adding this aesthetic element to concrete makes it a cheaper choice for projects where plain concrete would appear too plain or boring.

3d printing

Concrete 3D printing offers many advantages.

Unique concrete designs can be made that may previously have been impossible. Affordable homes can be created for low-income families or those recovering from a disaster. The production time for projects can be drastically reduced.

Of course, this is still a newer technology and we don’t expect it to be used in large projects as the size of the printer limits the size of the item that can be created. However, cost savings, the ability to manufacture complex structures, and urbanization will drive the adoption of concrete 3D printing.

Light generating cement

Cement that can absorb and radiate light was developed by José Carlos Rubio Ávalos in Mexico. The cement can be produced at room temperature, which means enormous energy savings.

It can illuminate roads, bridges, bike paths and more – all without electricity. So how does it work?

The cement absorbs solar energy during the day and can then emit light for around 12 hours. To make this possible, the crystallization in the cement was removed so that light could penetrate. It was replaced by a gel consistency.

The product can currently emit either green or blue light and the brightness can be adjusted during production.

Translucent cement

In contrast to light-generating cements, translucent cement lets light through. This quality comes from the fiberglass strands in the concrete.

How translucent is it? You could clearly see the outline of something on the other side of the cement block or wall, but it still offers the same strength as regular concrete.

It is used in structures such as partitions and stairs to add a design element to an otherwise plain concrete structure.


Drones are already being used on construction sites. We expect usage to increase. A major application is site surveys, which can be done with drones in a fraction of the time.

While some companies were initially reluctant to use drones, their increased accuracy, ease of control, and time savings have made them attractive to many construction companies.

When we look to the future, knowing new approaches, tools and innovative materials can make the difference between a successful and a lost proposition.

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