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The use of concrete for construction has been documented since ancient period. For over a span of 5000 years, the development in using concrete for construction has vastly improved until now the present day. From Egyptian’s use of concrete to build pyramids which is made with mud and straw to form the bricks and gypsum and lime to make mortars, to present day’s different types of concrete the progress in it are evidently seen. With today’s technological advancement, innovations and modern methods of construction are embraced and used to reduce construction time and promote sustainable development. Some of these modern methods are the following: Precast Flat Panel System, 3D Volumetric Construction, Tunnel Form, Flat Slabs, Hybrid Concrete Construction, Thin Joint Masonry, Insulating Concrete Formwork, and Precast Foundations.
This type of construction uses off-site produced units such as floors and walls and set up on-site to form strong structures. Panels can include services, windows, doors and finishes. Building envelope panels with factory fitted insulation and decorative cladding can be used as load-bearing elements. This offers an accurate measurements of the panels that will be used and factory quality products. Also, it can make the construction fast since on-site the panels will just be erected.
3D Volumetric Construction, also known as modular construction, is an innovative, sustainable construction delivery method where prefabricated demountable single or multi-story buildings are delivered in 3D volumetric modular sections. Modules of different forms, ranging from a basic structure to one with complete finishes, can be brought to site all ready for assembly. Modular buildings are designed to be reused multiple times and transported to different building sites. This method offers the essential benefits of concrete, such as thermal mass, sound and fire resistance.
It is a formwork system that allows building monolithic walls and slabs in one operation on a daily cycle. The formwork is completely steel and made in detail for project design that can be readily modified for later project. After the steel reinforcement is fixed, concrete is poured and left overnight to cured. The following day when the concrete has hardened for more than 50% the tunnel forms are then lowered, removed and reposition the tunnel forms for the next day work. These formworks are large and need to be swung by crane out from the side of the structure when the concrete is being struck. Meaning, this is not suitable for tight sites.
These are apt for most floor situations and also for uneven column layouts, curved floor shapes, and ramps. Flat slabs construction also places no restrictions on the positioning of horizontal services and partitions. This offers considerable flexibility, where it can be easily altered for accommodating changes in the use of the structure. Post-tensioning of flat slabs facilitates longer and thinner slabs, with less reinforcement, hence proposes significant program and labor advantages.
It is the combination of precast and in-situ concrete. This incorporates all the benefits of precasting with all the benefits of in-situ construction. Combining the precast and in-situ concrete, results in even greater construction speed, quality and economy. They can be used in many different ways to extend the design horizons. Also, its elements can act independently or in combination. In addition, a structural element can contain both precast and in-situ concrete working compositely.
Thin joint masonry is a fast, clean, and accurate system of construction designed to reduce the time it takes to build walls which lower costs. It uses a pre-mixed, cement-based bagged product that is mixed with water to produce a thin layer mortar. The mortar cures fast, attaining full bond strength within hours, thus eliminating the problem of ‘floating’. Therefore, it enables more courses to be laid per day. The system also offers air tightness and reduced site wastage.
Insulating concrete formwork system consists of thin-walled, expanded polystyrene panels or blocks that are quickly built up to construct formwork for the structure. This formwork is then filled with ready-mixed concrete. Once the concrete has been poured, the panels remain in place to act as thermal insulation. The concrete core provides toughness and good level of sound insulation. It can also be built in wet and freezing conditions enabling an early water tight building enclosure.
Precast concrete system is used to rapidly construct foundations. The elements are usually to a modified design and cast in factory setting, giving guaranteed quality for the finished product. These foundations are supported by concrete piles and connected together.
With all these modern methods, constructing is made more accurate and faster. The new methods also add up quality to the materials that will be used in construction, since most of them are factory made. Advancements in engineering is indeed of great help in producing a quality made and economical structures.
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