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. 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: Scaffolding. 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 disruptive technologies that are 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
Scaffolding is a key innovation area in construction
Scaffolding is used to provide a safe and stable platform for workers to perform their tasks at height. It is a temporary structure consisting of a framework of poles, planks, and other materials erected around a building or structure to allow work to be carried out on parts of buildings that are not easily accessible.
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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of scaffolding.
Key players in scaffolding – 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 scaffolding
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|China State Construction Engineering||33||Unlock Company Profile|
|Layher W Verwaltungs||29||Unlock Company Profile|
|Air Liquide||28||Unlock Company Profile|
|Safway Services||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|TUBESCA-COMABI||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nisso Industries||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|PERI||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Belfast Arthroplasty Research Trust||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Safe Rack||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Zhejiang Dingli Machinery||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Shanghai Construction Group||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Combisafe International||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wuxi Longhaijie Machinery Manufacturing||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|Kee Safety||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sam Carbis Asset Management||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Wilhelm Layher||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Youngman Group||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|State Grid Corporation of China||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|MCC5 Group Shanghai||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Heavy Industries||5||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
The leading company in the scaffolding space in terms of patent filings is China State Construction Engineering. A recent innovation by the company involves the invention of a new type of safety climbing frame that includes a keel, consisting of a main body and a limiting column which is fixed to the outer wall of the building. The frame can be lifted using a mechanical lifting device and attached to the building using fixed metal rods, improving the efficiency and safety of working at height. Other leading innovators in the scaffolding space include Layher W Verwaltungs, Air Liquide, and Safway Services.
In terms of application diversity, the leading companies are Air Liquide, Belfast Arthroplasty Research Trust, and Kee Safety. In terms of geographic reach, the leading companies are Nisso Industries, Combisafe International, and Zhejiang Dingli Machinery.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Construction.