Ramón Sánchez Fernández, the head of Building Engineering at Sacyr Ingeniería e Infraestructuras.
Transformation has not just reached the most technological sectors of the economy, such as telecommunications, banking or retail; it is also present in the everyday lives of other sectors, such as construction.
At Sacyr, we are incorporating innovative ideas into building processes to offer more sustainable, more efficient solutions.
These new ideas allow us to cut construction times while maintaining the same high standards of quality and security. Ramón Sánchez Fernández, the head of Building Engineering at Sacyr Ingeniería e Infraestructuras, explained that they design “ad hoc solutions which make it possible to reduce the number of propping systems to be used or remove formwork ahead of time. We have specialised in using post-tensioned slabs, which is unusual in the building sector. At Sacyr, we have built over 500,000m2 using this system over the past few years”, he added.
When listing the new materials which are being incorporated into building processes, Sánchez Fernández named several categories. First of all, he highlighted the traditional materials which are being improved through nanotechnology or additions of new molecules, stating, “This almost transforms them into new materials, which it is advisable not to lose sight of”. These include the new, high-end concretes, which are stronger and with better quality finishes, and low-emission glass which, in addition, offer heat-cleaning or self-cleaning features.
There are also new materials which are set to revolutionise the sector, but which are currently finding it difficult to enter the market. “At Sacyr, we understand that, in this field, the most efficient materials are carbon fibre for structural elements and composite materials (metals with organic resins) for structural and architectural elements”, explained Sánchez Fernández.
The progress made by technology will make it possible to take a virtual stroll through an architectural design. Advances in software and management, with the use of BIM and LEAN methodologies, are leading us towards 4D ultra definition in the project phase. In the opinion of the head of Building Engineering, these materials “will definitively drive greater levels of prefabrication, not only of structural elements but also of architectural elements such as partitions, bathrooms, stairways and even service risers. It will also enable greater control and interaction between the building and the customer.”
Another possible, although as yet unclear, direction will be that set by building-type 3D printing. Work is currently being done on printable materials and printing devices.
Sacyr has launched a research project on the use of fibre-reinforced concrete in floor slabs, a type which eliminates the need for supporting steel constructions and cuts consumption of electricity during installation. In addition, this material will very likely be printable.
The revolution in building techniques is making it possible to meet the new requirements of society, which is currently demanding architecture which brings together functionality and sustainability.
“A sustainable building is one whose construction, operation and deconstruction does not entail the depletion of natural, economic and social resources. These buildings therefore incorporate highly efficient technologies in relation to consumption and management of power and water. Priority is given to responsible use of materials and in accordance with those whose life cycle has a lower impact on the environment. Finally, the buildings are respectful of the local community and its heritage”, explained Sánchez Fernández.
Innovation and sustainability are strategic pillars in Sacyr's construction projects.