Concrete leaders can support GCC construction’s tech and sustainability goals

Technology is rapidly reshaping the concrete market in the GCC, where a shift towards sustainability is also underway. Concrete industry leaders must not be ignored in such times

COMMENT, SPECIAL REPORTS, SUSTAINABILITY, Projects, Sectors, Construction, GCC construction tech, Middle east, Technology

While technology has been a hot topic in the Gulf’s construction sector for some years, the realities of its uptake, implementation, and benefits are, it appears, only now setting in.

For the GCC’s developers, contractors, and suppliers alike, this steady growth in awareness is a positive development.

Technology has reshaped every aspect of construction in the last five years, and the concrete sector is no exception. From manufacturing methods to product features, the region’s concrete market has witnessed a remarkable evolution away from the traditional. This tech-propelled movement has gained further support due to regulatory requirements for sustainability in construction.

This positive link is examined in the Market Overview (p22) in Construction Week’s Special Report on concrete. Experts say that items once overlooked as waste are now being combined with existing ingredients to rewrite the chemistry of traditional concrete. The key to sustaining such efforts lies in market education, and the American Concrete Institute (ACI) is up to the task. ACI, which will be present at The Big 5 Heavy 2018 this March, also reveals additional details about its updated concrete specifications in the article.

Precast has emerged as another intersectional point for technology, sustainability, and concrete, and this relationship is highly beneficial.

According to a report by The Big 5 Heavy 2018, not only is precast concrete easier to manufacture, it is also a more financially prudent option. “Precast concrete components can be 10% cheaper to manufacture compared to alternatives,” the report says.

“The factory-like conditions in which they are produced also [deliver] a consistent quality of product under carefully monitored conditions. [Since] each panel section is made to order, there is likely to be substantially less construction waste.”

The road to precast adoption is not without potential hurdles, however. In this week’s Sector Focus (p26), experts from construction consultancy Araco and Middle East Technical University reveal the key factors that are restricting a market-wide uptake of precast. The analysis is accompanied by advice for contractors looking to reduce their operating costs.

The good news is that the Gulf’s concrete leaders are ready to support regional consultants and contractors along this journey.

As Bashar Abou-Mayaleh, managing director of Concrete Industries Complex (CIC) – the Knowledge Partner for this Special Report (p24) – tells CW, price is “just one parameter” of the holistic, tech-oriented concrete products that can be provided. “In 2018, our motto is that CIC will be an [information technology] group that provides concrete,” he says.

“The benefits of IT outweigh the risk of delaying its implementation based purely on budgets. We are spending a good amount of our resources on technology without hesitation, because we know that the return is always very good.”

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Construction Week - Issue 765
Jun 29, 2020