What are the key trends
1) Prefabricated Buildings
Prefabrication is the ideal solution for this scenario, as it reduces the amount of labour required, brings down cost and improves the probability of delivering a project on time. Indeed, the UK government have even decided to devote more resources to this area.
Recognising the prefabrication trend, Uponor launched a range of Heat Interface Units (HIU) in 2017 which are customised and produced offsite. Delivering up to 40% energy savings and reducing installation times by 30%, they can play a key role in a prefabrication strategy.
2) Green Construction Methods
In order to bring this figure down, BREEAM(Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) was created as a sustainability standard within the industry. Targets have now been set by the government around projects meeting this stamp of approval.
At Uponor, we support the construction process by delivering energy efficient solutions which contribute to BREEAM recognised standards. Recent examples of this include Manchester Metropolitan University, which received an “Excellent” rating and the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory which was awarded an “Outstanding” rating.
3) Smart Home technology
As reported by IHS Markit, the global smart home market is set to increase by 250% between 2017 and 2019. This has been fuelled by growing technology and customer preferences towards automation and being able to control lighting, heating and tv’s from the touch of a button.
Recently, The Building Research Establishment (BRE) launched the Centre for Smart Homes & Buildings (CSHB) to aid the UK housebuilding industry and promote the installation of smart technology in homes.
Smart technology has always been at the forefront of Uponor’s mind and as such, we have launched a mobile app (Smatrix app) which allows an end user to control their underfloor heating via a mobile or tablet. The system also reports on trends and potential faults within a system. For the future, Uponor are developing new controls to add to the Smatrix range - so watch this space
BIM or Business Information Modelling has been around for a while now and is only set to grow in importance. For architects and mechanical engineers it provides a great way of keeping on top of a project, as it accurately depicts the building materials that are required, potential costs and ultimately whether it is feasible. Human errors are also significantly reduced via this method.
In order to assist key stakeholders with accurately mapping a project, Uponor provide BIM models for pipes, fittings, manifolds and valves.
5. Virtual Reality
The construction industry is beginning to pay more attention to this area and take note of the benefits it can have. For example in the housing market, JLL and Balfour Beatty have begun experimenting with headset technology which allows designers and developers to predict and dimension objects within a home.
The potential of virtual reality certainly excites us at Uponor. We are already looking ahead to the future and assessing how plumbing and underfloor heating systems can be accurately mapped via headset technology. We are at the start of a great journey!