According to experts, the Chinese construction industry is entering a new development stage. The previous phase primarily characterized by a growth in volumes of completed floor space in residential and commercial/office developments is followed by slower growth. Statistics published by Germany Trade and Invest (gtai) prove that 2015 saw the commencement of the construction of residential buildings with a total area of 1,066.5 million square meters; in the preceding year of 2014, this figure still amounted to 1,248.8 million m2. This is why experts appear to have identified a downward trend although these figures continue to be impressive from a European perspective.
The Chinese government is intent on increasingly shifting its focus to environmental compatibility and sustainability in the course of implementing current construction projects. The precast industry should play a crucial role in this regard because it is expected to contribute to providing the required floor space within a short period and to a high quality standard. In 2020, the share of precast buildings should equal 20% of all newly built residential developments, and it is set to increase to 50% by 2025.
At the same time, China is also making a big effort to modernize the country’s construction industry and to increase its efficiency.
From 3D printing to functionally graded concrete
These trends were reflected on the agenda of this year’s edition of the BetonTage Asia congress, which is organized by its Chinese licensee, VNU Exhibitions Asia, in collaboration with the host of the German BetonTage congress held in Neu-Ulm, FBF Betondienst. On 14 and 15 November 2016, about 500 attendees learned more about latest Chinese and international research and construction proj-ects in two conference halls at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel. The related lectures were given by representatives of international and Chinese universities and companies.
Arcplus is a construction group that serves as a prime example for many Chinese construction contractors. Its projects increasingly rely on precast, as shown by the presentation delivered by Tian Wei, of the group’s research center. Whereas the share of precast in completed buildings equaled 15% in 2013, it increased to 30% in 2015.
On the second congress day, M. Eng. Franz Wirth used his lecture to present the DBF-Lab (Digital Building Fabrication Laboratory) at TU Braunschweig. At the lab, highly interesting research is being conducted with the aid of a new system that includes both a CNC machine and a robot, which is a certain type of 3D concrete printer, Version 2.0: through a nozzle attached to the robot arm, concrete is sprayed onto a shield that freely moves across the space.
In the Architectural Design panel held in the afternoon of the second day, Lu Yi, of the Sino-German Sustainable Urbanism and Architecture Association, provided a comprehensive overview of current research topics in Germany. This overview covered areas such as functionally graded concrete, recycled concrete, textile reinforcement, and UHPC.
Accompanying exhibition and factory visit
The congress held at the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel was complemented by the Shanghai International Building Industrialization Exhibition that took place on an area of 12,000 m² in Halls N2 and N3 of the Shanghai International Expo Center situated opposite the hotel. The 180 exhibitors from across the world included companies such as Ebawe Anlagentechnik, mbk Maschinenbau, Peikko, Idat, Dlubal Software, Trimble Inc., and Unitechnik Systems. VNU Exhibitions Asia, the organizer of the event, counted about 30,000 exhibition visitors.
The excellent congress and exhibition program was rounded off by a visit to the factory of Shanghai Yuhui Residential Industrial Co., Ltd., a leading producer of precast elements for the residential sector.
Text: Christian Jahn, M. A.