Building a new office block
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Building a new office block

We have a big site at work but after the company expanded we were running very short on office space. Most of our accounts team was in a demountable office and they were really hot in summer and cold in winter. It was so much better for the whole team once we got the new office block built on site. This blog talks about the process of building a new office block, including the design and construction of a block for your team. I hope it will be useful for anyone looking to build a new office block on their site.

Building a new office block

4 Innovative building materials that will dominate the engineering field in 2019

Troy Medina

Every year, engineers come up with innovative materials that can be used to design and build better structures. Many items in the environment are actually more useful than one might think, and engineers are constantly looking for ways of improving structural efficiency while saving costs.

In recent years, structures have been built using mass timber, rods of carbon fibre and even concrete that has been fused with grass. Indeed, engineers can use more materials than just concrete and stone when bringing a structure to life. Here are four innovative building materials that you can expect to see in 2019.

1.    Bricks

Bricks have been used for many years to build homes. They are among the most convenient and cost-effective materials you can use. However, traditional bricks may be difficult to recycle after demolition.

Innovative techniques are being used to design bricks that are not only recyclable but also energy efficient and improve the quality of indoor air. Air-cleaning bricks filter incoming air into a structure in order to remove pollutants. Wool bricks consist of an extra layer of wool (and a polymer) to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

Wool bricks and air-cleaning bricks are also convenient to use for temporary structures. When these bricks are demolished, they cause less damage to the environment and are easier to recycle.

2.    Healing concrete

Concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials. As reliable as it has been over the years, concrete tends to crack and disintegrate into unusable pieces during demolition. The good news is that the problem of cracked and broken concrete is slowly coming to an end. In fact, engineers are now using concrete that has been infused with living spores and water capsules as a sustainable building material.

This "self-healing" concrete not only seals up cracks by itself, but it's also easier to demolish and recycle. But how does it work? Self-healing concrete uses internal water capsules to release moisture and combine with calcite, which results in sealed cracks within each solid block.

3.    Cigarette butts

Did you know that cigarette butts could be used as an alternative and sustainable building material? Structural engineers can combine cigarette butts with bricks to create lighter and energy-efficient blocks that can be used to build homes. This material will also cost less to build and maintain, which is a win-win for building owners.  

4.    Straw bales

As opposed to using cumbersome building materials such as concrete and plaster, engineers are exploring straw bales as a useful and environmentally friendly alternative. Not only are straw bales better at providing insulation, but they're also easier to handle when demolishing the home and recycling the land for other purposes. Watch out for more straw bale structures in 2019!