Construction in the 21st century
by Andrea Serri
Date:December 23, 2016
Since he stopped living in caves, man had to face a new challenge: to design and build his own house, from the techniques employed in construction to the choice and use of materials. A long journey which, over the years, has gone through several major transitions, as indicated by masonry buildings from the Renaissance or, to speak of a more recent epoch, by the use of steel and glass at the first Great Exhibition in London or in Chicago skyscrapers, starting from 1871.
One of the most significant features of modern homes – from single-family detached houses to apartment blocks that host dozens of housing units – is their architectural complexity, which derives from the coexistence of the most diverse systems, materials and expertise, that are required to work together following scheduled time-tables, so as to make the best use of time and manufacturing costs. And also, a new perception of the building, swifting from “today” to “tomorrow”: durability in time, ensured only by scheduled maintenance programs, requires to switch from an ex-post approach (replacement of the broken part) to an ex-ante approach, designed to eliminate the inconvenience created by malfunctioning items or by lower performances.
In the post industrial society of information and digitalization of processes, this new theory has led to the generation of BIM, an approach embracing systematic analysis of processes with the performance of single materials and products employed; the Gantt intervention time chart with the expansion of the intervention itself which – although still beginning with the construction phase – now goes on until demolition, to complete the building life cycle. What we face is no doubt a revolution, which in other countries all over the world – especially Anglo-Saxon ones – has already taken place, leading to the generation of new figures such as the Facility Manager, whose role and importance are destined, also in our country, to grow.
This revolution is already concerning the Italian industry of ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings, as is the brick industry, since they are both key industries in the supply of materials for modern construction. A path whose main road has already been laid out, and where those who can see its potential will stand to benefit greatly from this opportunity, enhancing their competitiveness.
23 December 2016
[ Editorial of Cer Magazine NEWS n. 13/2016, the Ceramics of Italy e-magazine ]