Reports from the construction sector endorse a firm commitment to the use of sustainable materials, to introduce the circular economy in construction processes and more importance will be given to 3D printing. Likewise, industrialized construction will gain momentum and the design of the exterior facade of the buildings will play an important role, both at the level of reform and in the case of new construction.
Like other sectors, construction has stopped evolving in recent years. Although, until now, this process of transformation and innovation followed a slower pace than that of other industries, it is now witnessing how its priorities, methods and techniques are adapting to current social, economic and environmental needs, giving rise to to new trends that contribute to its rapid advance.
A year ago, due to the impact of the health crisis in the sector, the Superior Council of the Colleges of Architects of Spain made a small analysis of the key points that would guide the immediate future of construction and architecture, and in which it was necessary to influence and strengthen in the short and medium term. These were: energy renovation, actions linked to sustainability, greater accessibility, functional adaptation to new ways of life, work and leisure, adaptation to a progressively aging population, adaptation to current health factors and incorporation of new technologies and materials. These needs, framed within the latest national and global strategies, both public and private, have contributed to construction taking an exponential leap and 2022 consolidating itself as the year of definitive transformation.
On the occasion of the start of the new financial year, the experts at Sto, an international company specializing in the manufacture of construction systems and elements, have identified the main trends that will mark this year:
• New techniques in sustainable construction
Climate change is now one of the top priorities in the sector. This has led to construction techniques also evolving in this sense, something that will continue to mark 2022. This appearance will affect not only the construction processes, with a greater commitment to the use of sustainable material resources or the treatment of waste aa through processes inclined to the circular economy, but also in what respects the constructed or rehabilitated building, betting more on elements such as: thermal insulation, quality carpentry, sustainable materials, water saving systems, low consumption appliances, use of renewable energy…
• Reform and renovation will give the definitive impetus
The Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan that the Government will maintain in 2021, and the European aid that will accompany it, will promote the rehabilitation of homes and buildings. Although the various measures implemented in recent years have tried to promote this type of action due to the age of the Spanish real estate, it will be from 2022 when the sector picks up pace, learning from what other more advanced countries are doing, and adapting all their solutions to our climatic and cultural reality.
• Technological leap for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the execution of projects
In 2022, the search for techniques and methods that speed up any construction project without wasting resources or reducing the quality, safety and comfort of the building will be the key. And this is only achieved with the support of new technological systems such as BIM, a collaborative work methodology for the creation and management of a construction project, which aims to centralize all project information in a digital information model. All this, with a single purpose: efficiency in the execution of architecture and engineering works.
• Settlement of industrialized construction
Those of sustainability and digitization are placing the principles in the spotlight for new construction models such as the industrialized one, based on the automated design and manufacture of the structural and non-structural elements of a building. The benefits it provides at a social, economic and environmental level will be the basis of its success this year: optimization of production times up to 50%, cost reduction up to 20%, digitized process and automated production, reduction of the environmental impact of the construction and creation of much more specialized, safe, attractive and inclusive jobs. This model is also applicable to the entire construction sector - real estate, infrastructure...- and, although it is an excellent solution for new construction projects, it also has a place in rehabilitation.
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• Integration of 3D printing technology
3D printing applied to construction consists of a group of manufacturing technologies that allow the creation of a three-dimensional object through the successive superposition of layers of certain materials. Due to its ease in working with details, it is becoming an excellent construction method for more artistic buildings, even in constructions located in areas with changing climatic conditions. In 2021, multiple 3D printing projects have been launched, and 2022 will follow a similar trend. In fact, companies in the sector set an annual growth figure of 14% until 2027.
• Aesthetics and design, also on exterior facades
All this increased commitment to sustainability and technological innovation is not at odds with aesthetics. Just as interior decoration has gained a leading role in recent decades, the striking design of facades, both in rehabilitation and in new construction, will make the leap in 2022. In fact, it is already possible to fully customize the exterior area of a building applying different types of materials: renders (organic, mineral, silicate...), porcelain stoneware in different forms of presentation (compact, extruded, large format), ceramics of various colors and surfaces (smooth, rough, plastic...) , natural stone of different types (sandstone, dolomite...) or even with glass, in different shades and treatments.
• More flexible, multifunctional and bright spaces
The population gives more importance than ever to the spaces in which they live and work, which has caused the lifestyle of the new generations to prevail in both homes and offices. In the case of offices, with the return to face-to-face attendance, open spaces will be chosen where the space is shared with cafeteria, meeting or rest areas, to facilitate mobility. Residential architecture, for its part, will play with the notions of multifunctionality, versatility and modularity in open spaces, in order to reinvent itself in just a few moments.