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Tag: building materials

Perth Businesses Face Problems Recycling Asbestos Construction Waste

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Authorities determined to recycle construction waste have been accused of laying the foundations for future asbestos victims by industry insiders.

Perth contractors have complained that they are accumulating large stockpiles of construction waste which they cannot resell because there is no market for it and cannot dump because it’s too expensive. Government has raised landfill fees by more than 500 per cent.

Some contractors say the government is being reckless by allowing recycled construction waste products to have 0.001 per cent asbestos. Read more at

Withstanding Nature through Construction Innovation


An innovative wave-shaped steel piping promises to enhance the durability of water and oil pipes that traverse earthquake prone fault lines.

The piping which has undergone testing by engineers at Cornell University proved effective at staying intact under pressure.

The steel pipe was developed by Japan’s JFE Holdings.

The pipes wave shape allows it to bend and compress when subjected to heavy force, as opposed to bursting as other conventional pipes do under pressure.

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Building Blocks from Mushrooms


These “toadstools” as they are called in Canada may be the future of building materials, having been made of oyster mushroom spores and sawdust.

The bricks were developed by the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. The group have been working to develop sustainable building materials. The researchers believe mushrooms could be used widely for insulation in North America. Mushrooms make a biodegradable structural alternative.

The researchers weren’t the first to discover the potential of mushrooms. In 2014 a U based design and engineering consultant unveiled a mushroom tower in New York.

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US Researchers Make Breakthrough in Concrete Production


An article I read on  recently detailed a new, revolutionary invention that could significantly reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

The cross-disciplinary team from UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) have discovered a way to capture the carbon dioxide released by power plants and utilise it as an ingredient in a concrete building material, produced during additive manufacturing processes.

According to the team, the process involves first removing the carbon dioxide that is normally discharged into the atmosphere by coal or gas based power plants. Once extracted, the carbon dioxide is combined with lime to produce a cement-like material.

The material can then be made into a solid component for building by means of 3D printing. As the writer of the post highlights, this method translates into countless possibilities with respect to the precise shape or configuration of the final product.

The team has apparently already made a successful proof of concept, having printed a set of small cones using the carbon-based concrete and also plan on testing the material under real world conditions soon.

In the article Gaurav Sant, associate professor and Henry Samueli Fellow in Civil and Environmental Engineering, said the development of the concrete involves the creation of complete and effective technological process. A major obstacle to this process is the ability to produce building components at a larger scale. He went on to explain:

“We can demonstrate a process where we take lime and combine it with carbon dioxide to produce a cement-like material,” said Sant. “The big challenge we foresee with this is we’re not just trying to develop a building material. We’re trying to develop a process solution, an integrated technology which goes right from CO2 to a finished product.

“There is a scale challenge, because rather than print something that’s five centimetres long, we want to be able to print a beam that’s five metres long. The size scalability is a really important part.”


The writer of the article also spoke to J.R. DeShazo, professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs who highlighted the importance of the discovery. He believes the technology could have profound implications for the carbon footprint and infrastructure creation of industrialising countries, particularly when we consider the extent of the energy and concrete the economic development process uses up.

He went on to detail:

“This technology could change the economic incentives associated with these power plants in their operations and turn the smokestack flue gas into a resource countries can use, to build up their cities, extend their road systems,” DeShazo said. “It takes what was a problem and turns it into a benefit in products and services that are going to be very much needed and valued in places like India and China.”





What the Construction Sector is Doing to Reduce the Asbestos


In an article on construction website the importance of recognising and understanding the risks associated with exposure to asbestos and other hazardous materials was discussed. The writer highlighted the need for construction workers in Australia as well as engineerings and designers to recognise hazards and risks.

Asbestos is one of the worst hazardous materials found on Australian building sites because it was widely used in the manufacture of building materials until the early 1980s.

A frightening revelation is that Australian used more asbestos per person than any other country on the planetfrom the 1940s to the 1960s, with  many older buildings still containing the dangerous substance.

Non-Compliant Cladding May Be Used on Gold Coast Buildings


An investigation has begun into the use of potentially flammable cladding on buildings on The Gold Coast.

A forum was held by building ministers to discuss the problem at Bond University, following calls for federal attention.

Among those calling for government action are Strata Community Australia who have describe the situation as a “flammable cladding crisis”.

Gold Coast federal MP Karen Andrews confirmed that concerns had been raised about the use of non-conforming, potentially flammable materials in the area.  She said the results of the state’s investigation will reveal more about the situation and the action to be taken.


Making Our Buildings Earthquake Proof


A new anti-seismic brick has been developed that is expected to help improve the earthquake resistance of buildings without being excessively complex or expensive.

We have engineering researchers from Spain’s Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) to thank for the Sisbrick, which has been designed to use in partition walls of buildings to enhance the earthquake resistance of buildings. The bricks “insulate the primary structure from horizontal seismic motion”.

The brick can absorb horizontal seismic motion which is how it improves the integrity of buildings in the event of earthquakes.



Prefabricated Factory to Open in Sydney Soon

Londoncrane1As the adoption of prefabricated construction methods spreads around Australia and the world, Sydney is going to get a new factory that will push the construction method to new heights.

Lendlease will open their prefabricated materials factory in Sydney next year with the company’s initial investment being a modest $15 million.

This new factory is expected to cause a “disruption” in the construction industry according to Lendlease and its representative. Read here for more.

Are we Using Insulating Concrete Forms Enough?


We’ve already spoken about the benefits of timber construction and prefabricated construction, improving construction productivity and effiency but another durable form of construction uses Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs).

An article on asked the question, are insulating concrete forms underused in Australia?

There was a case of a structural engineer whose house was the only one left standing after Hurricane Katrina in the neighbourhood, having used insulated concrete forms.

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Australia Could Lead the Way in Strong, Durable Concrete


According to a post on Australia could become a pioneer for the creation of durable and long lasting concrete if proposed changes for the criteria for concrete durabililty come to pass. It would mean Australia has the best standards for concrete production in the world.

The criteria would mean that concrete would become more sustainable and long lasting because according to experts international standards aren’t sufficient in addressing premature deterioration.

The post on quoted expert Farhad Nabavi from Xypex Australia who said that existing international standards governing concrete building materials fail to address one of the primary factors in its premature deterioration. The Australian standard would attempt to address this concern.