Building materials – what's new?

The construction industry very rarely sits still when it comes to new and 'in fashion' building materials and techniques. The rate that technology is changing means that new approaches are coming thick and fast helping projects to not only come in on time, but also on budget.


Government support

The need to keep developing faster and more environmentally friendly construction techniques and building materials was cemented by the announcement in the last half of 2013 that the Government was adding £60m to the fund to develop new technologies.

The Technology Strategy Board, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced the money will be used in its Low Impact Building Innovation Platform. This helps projects to reduce construction times, improve quality and make buildings more efficient.


Sustainable building materials

Out of all the new materials and techniques that have emerged over the last 10 years, perhaps the biggest grower in the new construction techniques arena are products come under the sustainable building banner.

As the consumer demand for eco-friendly building materials and techniques has increased, builders merchants, architects, designers and developers have had to sit up and take notice. Now you would be hard pushed to find timber that does not come with an FSC stamp of approval, or windows that aren't guaranteed to reduce energy costs.

From Porotherm clay blocks and recycled rubber roof shingles, to stylish bathrooms designed to save water usage and rainwater harvesting systems in all shapes and sizes, the options available which help to cut energy and water costs are endless.


Increased use of timber and steel

There has been much written recently about the supply problems and rising cost of bricks, which has led to more and more companies looking for alternative building materials.

Whilst there is no suggestion that we will be saying goodbye to traditional bricks and mortar construction, according to the Structural Timber Association, 18% of new homes in England and Wales, and significantly higher in Scotland, are now constructed out of timber frames. The use of steel is also going the same way.

Whilst timber and steel are not new building materials to the construction industry, as they can be quicker to install and are readily available, they have seen an increase in demand.


Modern techniques and building materials

Ways of reducing the time to construct a building on site are always being investigated and there are now wide ranges of techniques and building materials that can help.

These include panellised units that are produced in factories, hybrid concrete construction techniques and the construction of three-dimensional units that are fully built off site, to name a few.

There is no doubt that the development of more sustainable and modern methods is where the industry is heading, so it is important that those working in it keep up to date with new techniques.

To find out more about eco-friendly and modern building materials that are stocked by Chandlers, please speak to your local branch.

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