Aluminium's role in new technologies for the building & construction industry
Due to its sustainable nature and property of being recycled and reused, aluminium has now become a preferred material for builders who are looking to implement new technologies in the building and construction sector.
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Evolution of the Construction Industry
The construction industry is considered as the second largest industry after agriculture. It is responsible for contributing significantly to the Indian economy and generates employment. In addition to that, KPMG predicts that by 2025, the country's construction sector will be the third largest in the world, after China and America, with an overall value of $1 trillion. With the rapid growth of population and urbanization, the construction industry has undergone rapid changes in the last few decades and is still evolving.
Evolutionary pressures have enabled deployment of new technologies in construction industry. Factors including limited availability of natural resources, urbanization, need for faster execution and changing infrastructure landscape have influenced the construction industry to continuously evolve. Exponential growth in cities has paved the way for skyscrapers; the infrastructure industry embraced this change and transformed the way buildings are now created. There are various trends and technologies that can be attributed to the evolution of this massive industry. Some of the key trends and technologies that are shaping construction are mentioned below:
The Green Building Revolution: Adoption of sustainable processes and materials for creating structures was a key change that the construction industry witnessed. The need for minimizing the negative impact it had on the environment, encouraged builders and architects all over the world to be a part of the Green Building Revolution and create buildings that were energy efficient as well as self-sufficient.
Building automation: Another technological revolution that changed the construction industry was the automation of buildings where centralized automated processes with the help of technologies and new materials controlled the heating, lighting and well as security systems. This was a massive breakthrough where technology and the construction industry converged paths.
These and many other trends and technologies are shaping and defining the infrastructure sector today.
Application of Aluminium in emerging technologies
Aluminium has been an integral component of the journey of transformation for the construction industry. From skyscrapers to green buildings, aluminium is the first choice for architects and builders across the globe. Due to its sustainable nature and property of being recycled and reused, aluminium has now become a preferred material for builders who are looking to implement new technologies in the building and construction sector. Aluminium and its various forms have vast and diverse applications in the construction industry. Some of them include:
Aluminium Formwork System: A key application of aluminium in an emerging technology is the aluminium formwork system or the MIVAN Technology. This is a modernized construction system that helps in forming a cast with the help of panels for a concrete structure of the building. The metal is used in place of traditional shuttering while making the framework of the building. This formwork system can be used in both high and as well as low constructions. The basic structure of a formwork is an extruded aluminium rail which is welded to a sheet and finally into a panel. Aluminium formwork systems improve the quality as well as the efficiency of the building. Aluminium formwork systems significantly reduce the turnaround time for projects by almost half are cost effective and these panels can be re-used.
Green Construction Technology: Aluminium is a key ingredient in building green and sustainable buildings. Owing to properties like recyclability, flexibility, malleability and strength, aluminium is replacing other metals in the creation of green structures. The recycling rate specific to the construction industry is around 92%-95%. 3 Thermal break aluminium windows, non-reflective curtain walls increase the energy efficiency of a building, whereas solar covered façade can generate the power it needs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helps making the building self-sustainable. This meets the requirement of being a green material and is therefore being increasingly used in high performance buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings are now calling aluminium as the primary sustainable material.
Future of aluminium in the construction industry
The use of aluminium is synonymous with buildings and constructions. The trend towards light weight construction will benefit aluminium producers all over the world. The potential of aluminium in the construction sector is huge as aluminium is an ideal metal for diverse applications across the industry. There has also been a lot of focus on increasing the consumer awareness of using aluminium over other metals in this sector. The construction sector leads in the consumption of aluminium globally with 26% of the total pie. Government initiatives like Make in India and Smart Cities have also given this metal the much-needed push. These initiatives are accelerating the adoption of aluminium at a very fast pace in the infrastructure industry.
Aluminium has been opening up infinite opportunities for builders and is enabling them to create sustainable yet architectural wonders. With the ability to meet the needs of the future, aluminium is now considered as a building material for futuristic projects.
The author is Managing Director, Jindal Aluminium Limited
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