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Modern building methods! Us lot in commercial construction, we’re all cutting edge and we’ve got to do it the modern way! That is the word out there! Trouble with that is I’ve been sat here for three days to try and fathom out what the modern building methods actually are!

Timber frame construction for housing? I’ve been in a house in France that was timber framed – and built 25,000 years ago! Bricks? No; we were using them at least 4,000 years ago. Sand and cement to lay the bricks instead or sand / lime mortar? Well I suppose that is comparatively “modern”; it took hold in the 1950’s. That’s only 65 years ago and, in terms of structural durability, a backward step! How many post-war houses are going to be stood there as long as Hadrian’s Wall or even the Victorian houses? High-rise? What about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon built 3,500 years ago! Even the use of steel frameworks has been around for at least a century! Pre-cast concrete ditto! The only other thing I can think of in the use-of-materials line is 3D Printing. I know nothing about that and I’ve serious reservations about it ever amounting to anything!

So have modern building methods actually on site got anything to offer? The biggest revolution I can think of there is the internal combustion engine and the invention of the fork-lift truck, dumpers trucks and diggers. Even they have been around for a century but admittedly they have progressively become a standard feature on every site. Cranes? Again, there isn’t much “modern” about cranes, either mobile or tower varieties!

The only two “modern method” things I can think of which have appeared in my working life and have made any actual difference are mobile phones and IT! Neither is actually a “building method”! Daft as it sounds, though, mobile phones have accelerated build times simply by the time they save for people not having to wander round sites looking for each other! It starts in construction with the production of drawings. Quicker and simpler than having a draughtsman sat there with his drawing board, set square, compass, protractor and bottle of ink! Plotters can bang out copies for everyone who wants one without having to wait days for a blueprint to appear! Then communication is speeded up in all respects when information can just be e-mailed out instead of having to wait for the Postie to come to the site gates! These days though, you can just use GenieBelt to access the latest drawings and ping them over the cloud straight to the hands of the site team on their smartphones. 

IT has also made planning and programming easier to do and do a lot better. That has also helped to accelerate construction times. Means everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, when and where.

So does everyone now see why I struggled to identify what actually is a “modern building method”? I don’t actually think we’ve seen any for at least a century! What we’ll have to do is come to a new understanding of “modern” and make it a lot longer time-span! Unless… us lot at GenieBelt can change all that! Try revolution in construction today.