Real Estate

Alternative Construction Materials Offer Builders Durability and Sustainability

Written by Zilvinas Puisys

Plenty of planning goes into any construction project. Decisions need to be made about which materials to use and how much time and money to spend on the entire project.Traditionally, companies tore down trees and used lumber as construction material. They might even manufacture metal and steel to make strong buildings, too.However, these materials cost a lot of time and money to manufacture. Furthermore, they are not as strong as other alternative building materials on the market.Continuing to use these traditional materials also further contributes to the deforestation and environment crises facing this world.Fortunately, there are now many alternative building materials available. These materials are stronger and often environmentally friendly. Of course, the material you choose will depend on the type of building you are constructing.To help with your research, check out the following five alternative construction materials that builders should consider.

Recycled Wood or Metal

Steel and aluminium are certainly strong materials to use for constructing durable buildings. The only problem is that it takes a lot of energy to produce these materials.After all, you need to mine ore and then heat it to shape it into the product that you want. This depletes the environment of its natural resources each time.However, if you take existing aluminium or steel materials and recycle them into building materials, then you won’t need to mine for additional ore. This will not only help the environment, but it will also save you time and money.The same concept applies to wood. You no longer need to cut down trees each time you want to create wooden building materials.

Bio-bricks

Bio-bricks are an experimental building material comprised of  – believe it or not – pee. The University of Cape Town has a group of researchers who’ve discovered a way to make bricks from urine.Basically, they created calcium carbonate from synthetic urine and then cemented it with regular sand. Once the two moulded together, they formed a unique brick that was just as hard as a regular brick.The end result is a sustainable building material that won’t deplete natural resources or require much energy to produce.

Memory-Steel

Memory-steel is a revolutionary new type of steel reinforcement that can be used to reinforce both new and existing structures made of concrete. All you need to do is heat the material once, and it will cause automated prestressing.In traditional concrete structures, hydraulics are needed to prestress the steel reinforcements. Because of this, lots of space is needed for all the hydraulic jacks, oil, ducts and tension cables.Memory-steel eliminates hydraulic prestressing because electric currents are used to heat the steel for the prestressing. As a result, the load-bearing capacity of both new and existing structures increases. It’s a great way to salvage older buildings, especially industrial buildings.

3D Knitted Shells

You probably have heard of 3D printing, when a machine recreates a physical object based on a computer blueprint or outline. Now there is a new kind of 3D technology called 3D knitting.Swiss company ETH Zurich designed the technology. In just 36 hours, it was able to knit the formwork that would become part of a shell structure.The resulting 3D knitted shells contain concrete, cables and textile strips to give it both a beautiful colour pattern and great durability.3D knitting lets builders create components that have all types of flexible structures and shapes, and could prove invaluable to the construction industry.

Cold-form Steel

If you’re looking for a durable frame material on a low- or mid-rise building, then cold-formed steel is a perfect choice.Cold-form steel is manufactured by rolling metallic-coated sheet steel into various kinds of metal objects such as angles, headers, joists, studs and framing.When framing a building, this becomes a cost-effective material because it is only between 0.373 and 3.175 millimetres thick.

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Zilvinas Puisys