Do you remember the days when you built the tallest building in the world it would hold the record for longer than one month? Well it seems in this new "Global Economy" that every country needs a super tall statement. Japan has joined the conversation with the newly proposed mile-high skyscraper that is set to reach a height of 5,577ft (read: one mile). If you are new to the super tall skyscraper game, you may not know that the announced height of 5,577 feet is like a "ASPR" (the Architects Suggested Project Height) kind of like an MSRP for the consumer industry, because there are always multiple projects in the works to be the tallest. These final heights are a closely guarded secret that is often not reviled until the final months of the project.
We recently wrote a story about Dr. Ian Pearson's prediction for what the construction industry could look like 30 years in the future. In his paper, Dr. Pearson predicts that London could have an 18 mile high building with a space pod on top of it by 2045. This isn't quite there yet, but it is over twice as tall as the current reigning champ of World's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (2,722 ft, 829.8 m).
KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox), the architect of the project, has a portfolio of super tall buildings the size of a New York Phone Book. The have built massive structures all over the world and they don't appear to be slowing down. They designed the Shanghai World Financial Center (1,614 ft, 492 m), the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong (1,587 ft, 484 m), the Ping An Financial Centre in Shenzhen, China (1,969 ft, 600 m), the One Vanderbilt in New York, New York (1,501 ft, 458 m), among many others.
This Mile-High project in Tokyo, dubbed Next Tokyo 2045, is mostly an exercise in research and development for sustainability in the future. The building, with a total square footage of 14.8 milloon (1.375 millon square meters) is designed to host up to 55,000 people and use a water collection system that would allow the upper floors to use reclaimed water rather than pumping water one mile vertical from the ground. The project even comes with a series of man-made hexagonal islands. The islands are designed to protect the mainland from flooding and act as a foundation for homes for around a half million people. This project is gearing up to be a modern engineering marvel.
We will keep an eye on this one for 30 more years to come!
Almost two years after they announced the release of their Bluetooth Battery that allowed owners to remotely monitor battery life and even disable the battery if it’s stolen, DeWalt is set to release a massive upgrade to their connected tool platform.
There’s no shortage of company’s trying to improve the world’s roadways. Asphalt and concrete each have their own disadvantages, especially when maintenance environmental factors are taken into consideration. Plastic is a major problem for landfills, as well, as it can take an estimated 500 years to fully decompose. One UK company believes they can solve both maintenance and environmental problems through the use of recycled plastic.
Feeling the pressure of 9 straight quarters with a decline in total revenue, Caterpillar has acquired the equipment sharing startup, Yard Club, to get help dig themselves out of the dirt. Their most recent quarter was the company’s first positive revenue quarter since November of 2012.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
Last year, Tesla announced a new disruptive product to the market in the form of solar roof shingles. Unlike traditional solar roof panels, these shingles mimic the look of traditional terra cotta, clay, and slate tiles, creating a more aesthetically pleasing look. This week, the company began taking pre-orders for the roof shingles and also released a cost calculator.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is constantly researching ways to improve construction process and materials, like this material 10 times the strength of steel, or this solar cell that’s lighter than a soap bubble, or this “reversible concrete.” This time the Institute is showing off its autonomous robot that can spit out building structures on site within hours.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
Two of the most critical concepts of construction safety are the ability to see what you’re doing and to also be seen by others around you. Construction workers rely heavily on their employer providing lighting systems when working in low light conditions, but those systems are not always adequate.
There’s no doubt that the construction industry is behind when it comes to technology, but things are beginning to change. In the past few years, our industry has seen millions of dollars poured into new technology, including smartphone apps, advanced construction materials, and advanced safety equipment. One of the struggles –and perhaps the main struggle- with introducing new technology to the field staff is that many of them have been managing their jobs the same way for a long time. It can be difficult to convince them to change, especially if they have been successful with their current process.