Good construction leaders are always looking for new solutions that can help jobsites become more efficient, cost-effective, and safer. From speeding up the construction of train tunnels to improving the safety of ladders on jobsites, here is an overview of some of the innovative construction solutions that have been trending around the industry lately.

Box-Jack Systems

American contractors have recently implemented an innovative method developed by an Italian company. The box-jacking system is commonly used in Europe for rail construction. It was first brought to the U.S. during the Long Island Railroad expansion project to eliminate railroad crossings on major roadways by installing precast concrete boxes underneath them. Project managers, rail officials, and city leaders across the U.S. are quickly realizing the advantages of this method, instead of detouring traffic for up to a year, it enables the construction of train tunnels in as little as two weeks with a 40-person crew working 12-hour shifts. There are already more than 750 workers assigned to the $2.7 billion, 170-mile Brightline high-speed rail extension project in Florida with even more construction jobs expected to be added.

CFRP Technology

Building scientists have long been searching for a way to lower the cost and environmental footprint of concrete components, and thanks to Swiss researchers, a new technology could soon be available that makes concrete leaner yet still durable using carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP). Since CFRP is resistant to corrosion, it enables much leaner concrete components that have similar structural properties to traditional concrete elements. But one thing that could be holding it back from becoming the new standard across the industry is that it requires expensive prestressing beds, and anchoring CFRP bars is more complicated than using steel. Researchers suggested that the way to overcome this is by anchoring on both sides of concrete elements while using a specially formulated mix that hardens as it expands.

Safer Ladder Designs

A majority of fall injuries among construction workers have one thing in common– they commonly involve ladders. A Pitt professor hopes to change that thanks to a $1.8M grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Kurt Beschorner, associate professor of bioengineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, plans to develop safe ladder designs by increasing the amount of friction between ladder rungs and shoes.

Innovative new solutions are being put to use across the commercial construction industry. These changes are improving efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety. From accelerating the pace of construction through the use of tunnels to improving ladder design to decrease the incidence of falls, many new solutions are being developed.

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