The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics as well as 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: Scaffold guard rail. Buy the report here.

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 are the 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

Scaffold guard rail is a key innovation area in construction

Scaffold guard rails are systems that protect workers on scaffolding from falls from heights. The systems typically comprise a top rail, a mid rail and support posts. Guard rail systems are passive fall protection systems.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of scaffold guard rail.

Key players in scaffold guard rail – 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 scaffold guard rail

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Safway Services 37 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 28 Unlock Company Profile
Teletower Com 17 Unlock Company Profile
ConXtech 14 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 12 Unlock Company Profile
Layher W Verwaltungs 9 Unlock Company Profile
Safe Rack 8 Unlock Company Profile
Wilhelm Layher 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sam Carbis Asset Management 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kee Safety 6 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration 5 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 5 Unlock Company Profile
TUBESCA-COMABI 5 Unlock Company Profile
Wuxi Longhaijie Machinery Manufacturing 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

BrandSafway is a leading patent filer relating to scaffold guard rails. According to the company, Safway was the first ever company to design sectional steel scaffolds. Other leading filers include Safe Rack and ConXtech, a privately-held construction technology company.

In terms of application diversity, Kee Safety is a leading player, providing a range of fall protection systems, guardrails and working at height safety equipment, while in terms of geographical diversity, Teletower Com is among the leading filers.

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

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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.