The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a greater focus on environmental sustainability, workplace safety and circular construction, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), modular construction and higher quality construction products and materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 248,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Construction: Offshore constructions

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity. 

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have. 

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry 

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 179,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Within the emerging innovation stage, mullion-transom curtain walls is a disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Heat-insulated glazing panels, drainage gully grating, and acoustic ceiling panels are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are abrasion-resistant decorative flooring and road construction milling tool, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry 

Offshore constructions are a key innovation area in construction 

Offshore constructions can be defined as the installation of fixed structures on the sea, with the structure extending either above or lying below the water’s surface. The most common example of offshore construction is the building of oil and gas platforms and offshore wind farms. 

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of offshore constructions. 

Key players in offshore constructions – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry  

  ‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to offshore constructions

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ThyssenKrupp 66 Unlock company profile
Siemens 65 Unlock company profile
Ackermans & Van Haaren 61 Unlock company profile
Vestas Wind Systems 60 Unlock company profile
General Electric 48 Unlock company profile
Repsol 45 Unlock company profile
NOV 43 Unlock company profile
GFG Alliance 38 Unlock company profile
Keppel Group 38 Unlock company profile
E.ON 32 Unlock company profile
JMV 32 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 24 Unlock company profile
Senvion 23 Unlock company profile
Itrec 22 Unlock company profile
Actividades de Construccion y Servicios 21 Unlock company profile
Vinci 20 Unlock company profile
ROSEN Swiss 17 Unlock company profile
GeoSea 17 Unlock company profile
WindSea 17 Unlock company profile
Esteyco Energia 17 Unlock company profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 16 Unlock company profile
Esteyco 15 Unlock company profile
TechnipFMC 15 Unlock company profile
Kirin Holdings 14 Unlock company profile
Naval Group 14 Unlock company profile
Parkwind 13 Unlock company profile
STX France 13 Unlock company profile
Max Bogl Bauservice 12 Unlock company profile
Saipem 12 Unlock company profile
Keppel 12 Unlock company profile
Seatower 12 Unlock company profile
Heerema International Group Services 11 Unlock company profile
A.P. Moller - Maersk 11 Unlock company profile
Royal BAM Group 11 Unlock company profile
SHV Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Maritime Offshore Group 11 Unlock company profile
Envision Energy (Denmark) 11 Unlock company profile
Lagerwey Wind 10 Unlock company profile
LOGIMA 10 Unlock company profile
Nippon Steel 10 Unlock company profile
DORIS Engineering 10 Unlock company profile
Equinor 10 Unlock company profile
Acteon Group 10 Unlock company profile
Ihc Holland Ie 9 Unlock company profile
Royal IHC 9 Unlock company profile
Horton Wison Deepwater 9 Unlock company profile
Hydra Tidal Energy Technology 9 Unlock company profile
Tidal Generation 9 Unlock company profile
Boegl Max Bauunternehmung 9 Unlock company profile
RWE 8 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading innovators within the offshore construction industry include Ackermans & Van Haaren NV (AVH), which is a provider of construction services. Through its subsidiary DEME, AVH provides dredging and marine engineering services, including offshore activities in the renewable energy, oil and gas, and aggregate and mineral extraction fields. Key AVH patents in the offshore construction industry include the computer-aided dredging of an underwater bottom that maximises production and minimises damage to the natural environment. Other patents include methods to facilitate the offshore installation of a wind turbine using a jack-up platform and a concrete connector body for an offshore wind turbine. 

In terms of geographical reach, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Seatower, and Saipem are leading innovators in the offshore construction industry. By application diversity, leading companies include STX France and ThyssenKrupp

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Construction


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.