A report examining the role that technology will play in the construction industry in the future has highlighted that drones, 3D printing and roofs made from recycled plastic bottles will all be possible by 2025
The report, written by well-known future gazer, Dr Ian Pearson BSc DSc(hc), and commissioned by Colmore Tang Construction and Virgin StartUp, also revealed that floating buildings and apartments will be possible by 2050 thanks to carbon foam, which is lighter than air.
By 2025 drones will be able to carry large materials up construction sites and, even more extraordinarily, plastic bottles recovered from the world’s oceans will be recycled to create a roof.
Over the next decade, artificial intelligence (AI) will be commonplace, linking to sensors and cameras around construction sites, ensuring that buildings are being developed according to the architect’s plans. Humans will work alongside AIs.
Looking more than 50 years into the future, by 2075 Dr Pearson suggests that self-assembling buildings under AI control will allow a new form of structure – kinetic architecture – where a structure is literally thrown into the sky and assembled while gravity forms the materials into beautiful designs.
However, it is 3D printing that will steal most of the construction headlines in the immediate future, according to Dr Pearson. Cheap homes, built quickly using 3D printing, will essentially put an end to the housing crisis.
The report was launched by Colmore Tang Construction, who has partnered with Virgin StartUp to deliver a £10m innovation fund that is open to entrepreneurial companies in a construction industry-first technology accelerator programme called ‘ConstrucTech’.
The fund will be provided to those companies that can successfully show how their innovation and technology could improve the sector’s productivity, sustainability and skills issues.
Dr Pearson said: “By 2025 we will already see huge changes in the construction industry thanks to technology with drones, AI and 3D printing all becoming commonplace.
“By 2050, we could see floating buildings or apartments that could save the housing crisis using carbon foam that’s lighter than air – the possibilities for this really are endless.”
Andy Robinson, Group CEO of Colmore Tang, added: “The forward-thinking report has shown that technology can have a positive impact on the construction industry, however, we need to discover those exciting and innovative start-ups, whose products and services could deliver the technologies and innovations that will be the key to future success.
“We are hopeful that our partnership with Virgin StartUp to create the ConstrucTech programme and £10m innovation fund will be the start of a new dawn within the industry, where the future innovations predicted become a reality.”