The construction industry is one of the largest in the world. According to a study by Oxford Economics, by the year 2030, the global construction market will grow to be an $8 trillion industry. However, this growth also means magnifying the environmental impact of the construction industry. According to a World Economic Forum report, global construction accounts for 38% of global carbon emissions. The growth of the construction industry also means increasing demands for construction materials translating to the use of more natural materials.
So, how can construction companies reduce their carbon footprint to reduce their environmental impact while maintaining growth?
Using BIM to make construction companies more efficient
Building Information Modeling is a critical process that can help ensure sustainable constructions. BIM is an excellent tool that allows architects, engineers, contractors, developers, suppliers, and manufacturers to collaborate in planning, designing, and constructing sustainable building their dream space using a single 3D model.
One of the most important components of a BIM model is the actionable information gathered throughout the construction process. Construction companies can use the said data to improve accuracy and spot deficiencies that require correction before construction. This ability to detect early planning errors can help prevent last-minute design changes and the reworking of completed sections. As a result, construction companies can prevent delays and avoid wasting materials. This also means saving on fuel used by construction equipment and reducing carbon emissions. For construction companies, BIM’s enhanced efficiency means completing projects within time and budget for improved revenue. Early completion of projects also enables construction companies to move to their next building project. The ERP systems for the construction industry is a segment of enterprise resource planning that caters to the industry’s unique needs. By implementing ERP systems, Businesses can eliminate inefficiencies, boost IT efficiency, eliminate downtime, and maintain professional standards. It would be ideal to have one database with financial management, construction accounting, and payroll information.
Another sustainable materials that’s gaining momentum is the use of modular or prefabricated building materials. The global modular construction market is expected to grow from $75.89 billion in 2021 to $114.78 billion in 2028. This expected growth results from more companies realizing the benefits of using modular or prefabricated materials for their business.
Modular construction is energy-efficient and can reduce wastage because it requires fewer extra materials than traditional construction. Prefabricated assemblies are constructed in factories so extra materials can get recycled on the spot instead of sending them to landfills. Factories are also controlled environments and allow for more accurate construction and better air filtration, resulting in increased energy efficiency.
The use of prefabricated materials reduces the likelihood of disruptions common in traditional job sites like noise, waste, pollution, and others. This streamlines the construction process resulting in a more efficient working atmosphere and helping contractors save on human resources, fuel, electricity, and materials. Modular construction projects are quicker to complete by up to 50% compared to traditional construction projects and can help companies deliver projects on time allowing them to take on new projects quicker.
Maximizing durable building materials
Construction companies are also starting to transition from a linear economy to a circular one to maintain a sustainable industry. In the traditional linear construction economy, companies extract, use, and discard raw materials after reaching their end of life. This results in the extraction and dumping of resource materials at an unsustainable rate. In the US alone, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the construction industry generated up to 600 million tons of construction and demolition of cheap home building materials in 2018.
A BIM building designers can work as a vital reference not just for building constructions but also for deconstructing them. Demolition contractors can refer to the BIM building design to determine which building parts are excellent candidates for salvage operations. Contractors can also use a BIM blueprint to gain insights on how to dismantle a building without damaging parts that they can reuse. Construction companies can then store salvaged materials in warehouses for future projects. This circular economy can help maximize the use of resources to reduce wastage and increase a company’s revenues on future building projects.