Working in research and development at Structural Adhesives Ltd involves examining trends and innovation in each of the industries we supply. The purpose of this is to identify new areas where adhesives can be beneficial or areas where there is demand for new adhesives with particular properties. Part of exploring new trends is internet research and reading papers and articles. However, often the most useful information comes from talking to people in the industry. My colleagues and I have attended trade shows such as UK Construction Week and Advanced engineering (both held at the NEC, Birmingham) to meet others in the industries and find out what they are working on. As well as meeting many interesting people I came back to the office with a much clearer picture of where these industries will be in the coming years and how they will get there.
One particular trend that has captured my attention, and the attention of many others, is modular housing. Modular houses are built in factories and then transported to site. It is estimated that the build time of a modular house is less half that of a traditional home. As modular houses are typically built indoors in a factory, builders don’t experience delays due to weather which often occur with traditional builds. Furthermore, the quality of modular homes can be more tightly controlled than traditional homes due to the majority of construction taking place in a factory. There are even some claims that modular homes are more energy efficient due to the tighter control when building. Due to the reduction in build time and subsequent lower labour costs per home, modular houses are likely to be significantly cheaper than traditional homes. Could modular housing be the answer to the 300,000 homes a year that need to be built to end the UK’s housing crisis?
With the production of modular homes taking off, the construction supply chain (adhesives included) are likely to see some changes in terms of materials required and their properties. Structural Adhesives Ltd are always looking for ways to support the building industry in finding bonding solutions for emerging construction methods.