Global management consultancy McKinsey & Company in 2016 noted that the construction industry was ripe for disruption. Considered one of the world’s largest sectors, the forced advancement and adoption of innovative technologies have allowed the engineering and construction (E&C) industry to persevere in the last two years. In fact, a more recent report, also from McKinsey, noted that the construction industry is more likely to emerge from the pandemic leaner, more digitised, and with a greater eye toward sustainability.
Recent giga-projects and developments across the globe have seen the construction industry adopt new technologies and innovations, with industry veterans creating roadmaps to incorporate innovation throughout their digital transformation journey.
For instance, new technologies are constantly being developed to support green building initiatives, and firms like Terraco are actively working towards incorporating greener practices through the continuous innovation of sustainable and green products.
What do companies mean by innovation?
Terraco believes innovation is the process of turning an idea or a concept into a solution that creates genuine value for the property owner, applicator, environment or other stakeholders. The Swedish company believes that green buildings can reduce the negative environmental impact while conserving resources and improving the quality of life through its design, construction or operation.
Case in point, the Terraco Ecolife range of products are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, APEO, heavy metals and other potentially harmful chemicals. These water-based, solvent-free innovations, which are third-party verified, contain special polymers and additives that ensure they are ecologically friendly, and comply with the most stringent international health and environment regulations.
Terraco details the need for continuous innovation
At its core, Terraco is committed to delivering continuous innovations and has a structured process which has served its customers globally for over 40 years. The company’s hub for global research and development – the Terraco Technical Centre located in Ireland – ensures continuous improvement and development of breakthrough technologies, which form the cornerstones of the business.
Terraco’s products and processes focus on high-quality, sustainable solutions for the construction industry. These products are made using carefully selected quality raw materials, ensuring superior performance. The company also notes the importance of sourcing environmentally friendly raw materials that are locally available, thereby reducing lead times, the cost of freight and more critically, the associated carbon footprint.
Terraco points out that variables such as climate, cultures, traditions and other economic and environmental factors influence the design and construction of green buildings. The company’s global Technical Centre works closely with regional technical centres in the UAE, China and Korea - constantly evaluating market requirements, brainstorming and understanding local needs as well as developing leading products that are ideal for all markets.
For a system like Terraco’s EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems), which helps customers protect their exterior facades and benefit from energy savings of up to 50%, this means that the products are developed and systems are modified to ensure they are at optimum performance in very diverse conditions.
Commenting on this, John Carey, Terraco’s Group technical director, says: “Our technical resources in the Middle East help evaluate the efficiency of products applied in hot and arid conditions, while our teams in Europe help test the same innovation in sub-zero temperatures.”
Collaboration through the Global Innovation Process
This collaborative effort helps the group work together across geographies and functions in improving solutions and constantly innovating through Terraco’s Global Innovation Process.
The Global Innovation Process is a collaboration between global marketing, technical and various other functions of the business. As a result, the efforts of various cross-functional teams, international technology partners and other stakeholders are streamlined in the innovation process.
Furthermore, this process ensures that customer insights are recognised and incorporated, while local commercial teams across the group help the firm keep abreast of the latest technologies and trends within the industry. For instance, Terraco recently launched a filling & levelling compound called Handycoat LoDust in South Korea and Jordan.
According to Terraco, this product reduces airborne sanding dust by up to 80% enabling an easy and comfortable application experience and reducing the inconvenience of possible discomfort from dust particles created during the sanding process. The firm notes that this was only possible by meticulously understanding customer insights, the value chain and local market dynamics with strong cross-functional collaboration across the group.
Academic collaborations also play an integral role in the Global Innovation Process. Terraco actively works with academics and scientists in different institutions worldwide to evaluate innovations and help understand new technological developments in the field of construction.
Finally, policymakers and authorities also play a key role in driving innovation. Government initiatives such as UAE 2040 masterplan and Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision are catalysts for more innovation in the construction industry and will not only facilitate, but also require, bolder and more aggressive approaches to innovation and sustainability. The challenge for the industry is ensuring that the entire value chain can implement and adopt these innovations at scale and on time.