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MODERN CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES IN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE
TECHNOLOGIES IN ENGINEERING
Dr K M Soni
ADG(TD), CPWD, N. Delhi
Advantages of Modern Technologies
• Faster Construction
• Non availability of Economic Conventional
Technologies and Workers
• Non availability of Skilled Workers or highly
• Environmental consideration
• Use of Waste Materials
• Aesthetic considerations and Innovation
Applications of Modern Technologies
• Roads and Highways
• Retaining Walls
• Irrigation Structures
• Nuclear Installations
• Development Works and Services
Load Bearing Structures
Brick/stone masonry structures
• Modern materials and technologies may include;
• CC blocks – Solid/hollow
– With blocks made of stone dust
– With C & D waste recycled concrete blocks, AAC Blocks or
fly ash bricks
• Cavity walls
• Robotic Laying of block/brickwork, Plaster and
• Trenchless Technologies
• Recycling Asphalt
• Reinforced Soil
• 3 D Printing
• Energy Efficient Technologies
• Tree Plantation
• Conventional shuttering
aluminium-plastic composite formwork,
Plastic formwork or of similar other materials
For Monolithic construction
• Monolithic construction means in situ casting
of slab, beams and columns / walls
• Such construction is carried out by
specialized shuttering/formwork normally for
• Therefore, new technology is in the use of
shuttering only and other construction may
• As the construction is with RCC walls, wall
thickness is less than masonry members or
columns having advantage of higher carpet area.
• Also, it has few construction joints and even
may not require cement plaster on the walls and
• Provide better seismic resistance than
conventional RCC construction.
• Construction is faster, and
• Highly suitable for repetitive multi-storeyed
construction particularly in housing.
• Limited modular sizes in some cases,
• High cost in case of non-repetitive units,
• Changes not feasible after casting or during life
time of the building,
• Feasibility of limited architectural features,
• Less energy efficient due to façade having low
insulation characteristics, and
• Difficulty and higher cost in repair and
rehabilitation of services and structure during its
• Central core (Generally core housing lifts, staircase etc) is
constructed first using a climbing or jump formwork system
• A frame is constructed over the central core and steel formwork
hung from it. Once the climbing formwork is in position, the
formwork panels are closed and concrete wall is casted. After the
walls are casted, the formwork is released.
• Jacks then lift the whole frame up to next level. All the formwork
panels are then attached to the frame and the process continued.
The formwork get supported on the concrete casted earlier and
thus does not rely on supports or access from other parts of the
building or permanent works.
• Suitable for multi-storeyed vertical concrete such as shear walls,
core walls, lift shafts and stair shafts in buildings thus advantage
in high rise construction as central core can be effectively used for
• Allows casting of a floor in single operation.
• Advantage of such formwork is that architectural
features like projections, cornices, planters, curved
beams etc can also be casted in one operation though
it cannot be combined with other formwork materials
such as plywood and steel.
• The formwork is largely hand held and does not need
the services of a crane for movement either vertically
• These can be effectively used for repetitive works like
multi-storeyed construction or row houses
• It comes in half units in the form of an
inverted “L”. When two halves are bolted
together at the top, they form the tunnel
(Fig. 3) hence the name.
• The inbuilt wheels and the jacks help the formwork move
in and out of the position and adjusted to the final height
to cast walls and slabs in one operation in a daily cycle.
• In casting process, prefabricated wall reinforcement is
placed by crane along the entire wing prior to casting the
kickers used to position wall formwork then two and a
half tunnel placed in position by crane, bolted together
and ties added.
• The formwork system provides for a pour to be wrapped
in tarpaulins and for the use of butane heaters to maintain
a sufficiently high temperature for the concrete to reach
its desired strength overnight for removal of formwork
• The process is repeated for the next two bays.
• Apart from limitations described earlier, in
tunnel formwork, walls are to be planned in
same alignment of the formwork, external
projections avoided and shaft openings to be
provided from inside.
• Pre-cast concrete buildings, or steel buildings.
• Precast concrete buildings use precast RCC structural members
such as beams, slabs, columns, walls, staircases, footings etc.
• Normally such members are fabricated at the casting yard or in
the factory with in-situ jointing and foundation casting.
• Structurally, connectivity of the members is to be ensured and
designed suiting to loading requirements including seismic and
lateral loads, if any.
• Advantage of such construction is pollution and dust control,
quality assurance of precast products, faster construction and less
storage space required at the site.
• Limitations are of module sizes, limited architectural features,
constraints of service lines and assurance of connectivity
particularly during lateral loads.
CPWD Constructed Building at
• Costly compared to conventional
• Better quality
• Uniform sizes
• Limited storage space required at site
It uses standard steel sections and is widely adopted in
crowded areas having space constraints and noise
pollution restrictions particularly for industrial set ups,
large span structures, and even high rise construction of
any type of usage where RCC members requires large
sections though welding may be required at site in many
In such construction any module size is feasible but special
precautions are to be taken for fire safety and as such fire
retardant coatings/paints are to be applied on structural
members or to be made composite. False ceiling may be
required due to aesthetic considerations. After 9/11
incidence in US, impact due to collision of air strike has
also become of concern.
Pre Engineered Buildings
• They are custom designed having varied sections
as per the loading requirements, fabricated in
factory, without welding (only bolting).
• Saves rection time, erection cost, and
• In case column of free structures like exhibition
halls, large convention centres, auditoriums etc,
PEBs have the advantage over other type of
Confined Masonry Construction
• Concept of confined masonry construction is similar
to Assam walling or ekra walling construction used
long time back in semi permanent buildings in north
eastern India, difference being that in place of
wooden vertical posts and horizontal members in
ekra walling construction, members in confined
masonry construction are casted in reinforced
concrete while infill walls are replaced with masonry
work in place of bamboo mat. Like ekra walling
construction was having higher seismic resistance,
confined construction also exhibits similar properties.
Stamped Finish Concrete Flooring
Modern floorings, i.e. stamped or textured or
imprint concrete, a decorative finish in desired
colours and surface resembling to bricks, stones,
tiles or even wood.
The process includes preparation of sub-grade,
placing of forms, providing reinforcement for
stability, placing the concrete, screeding and
finishing the concrete, applying colour and in
the last stamping the concrete using desired
Post Tensioned Slab Technology
• PT construction technology has advantage of
elimination or reduction in sizes of beams
hence has the advantage of larger headroom
or more floors in same height hence highly
suitable for high rise and air-conditioned
buildings. The tendons are pre-stressed
hence immediately tested for maximum
loading conditions and leads to material
saving, fast construction and increased
• HPC is a high strength concrete made by
lowering the water-cement (w/c) ratio than
0.35, utilizing fine pozzolanic materials. Low w/c
ratio and the use of silica fume make concrete
mixes significantly less workable. To compensate
the reduced workability, super plasticizers are
commonly added to high-strength mixtures.
• High strength concrete like self compaction
concrete is normally used in post tensioned
construction, and even in monolithic
Cool Roof Technology
• Cool roof is the one that reflects the sun’s heat
back into the atmosphere. The roof thus,
• Such roofs offer advantages of reducing heat-
gain, and improving energy efficiency of
buildings, improving thermal comfort in
buildings or reducing air conditioning load.
Though there is a criticism that cool roofs
enhance outside air
temperature or reflect heat
on some other surface.
• Architectural features are essential components of any
building. Some of the constructions like monolithic have
no or limited architectural features. Such features can be
added in the buildings by applying GFRC construction
technology being very light in weight, weather and
corrosion resistant and crack resistant.
• GFRC is also used in various other applications like water
storage tanks, septic tanks, domes for the buildings,
roofing sheets, door frames and shutters, canopies,
chimneys, pipes, gratings, column claddings, cooling
towers, sculptures and statues, dustbins, furniture,
external claddings and for rehabilitation and retrofitting of
Reinforced Soil Technology
• Reinforced soil concept is applied by
providing reinforcement in frictional soils as
the principle is based on friction between soil
and the reinforcement.
• Reinforcement is generally in the form of
metallic strips or sheet generally of
geostextiles or geogrids.
• Mechanical Anchoring
• Chemical Anchoring
• Robots can be used in buildings to roads,
railways to underground structures, nuclear
structures to disaster rescue operations,
demolition of structures to inspections of
deep sewer lines.
• Maintenance of roads, railway tracks and
electric power lines.
3D Printing Technology
• It refers to various techniques that use 3D
printing as a core method to fabricate buildings or
the components though at present in nascent stage.
• Such technology is going to be integration of
owner’s design acceptability, architect’s vision, on
site but mainly off site fabrication, robotics and use
• Trenchless technology largely avoids cutting of
roads and paths to pass through utility services
in soils. Such technology avoids disruption of
traffic and also helps in pollution control. The
technology includes “no dig” methods like micro
tunnelling, horizontal directional drilling, pipe
ramming, auger boring, moling etc.
Energy Efficient Technologies
• Building materials produced from such technologies include
PPC, flyash based bricks, blocks and concrete, light weight
and waste containing products, wood substitutes, C&D
waste products, low VOC paints, and low water consuming
• Similarly in E&M services, LED technology, solar power
generation, regenerative lifts, IBMS, occupancy and other
sensors, smart equipment and gadgets, energy efficient
chillers and geo thermal heat exchange system for air-
• The tree transplanter works on hydraulically
operated spades. Conical shaped blades penetrate
into the soil. Once all the blades penetrate inside
soil, then the earth ball is lifted above ground level,
and a pit is dug lifting the tree along with roots and
soil. Trees of even one meter basal girth can be re-
• New Technologies will continue to come due to
• Due to ICT, new and modern technologies will
be less dependent on workforce .
• “Smart” concept will be part of new
• Though little costlier, new technologies will
have to qualify for quality, better finish, green
concept, aesthetics, less maintenance and faster
• Each technology has some limitations and as
such should be chosen as per the requirements.
• Photographs have been taken from internet
sources and mostly not taken by the author.
The original sources are gratefully