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: Structure building framework.

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 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

Structure building framework is a key innovation area in construction

Structural framework building zoning refers to the process of regulating the use and construction of buildings based on their structural framework or support system. This type of zoning is typically implemented to ensure the safety and stability of buildings by requiring certain types of structures or materials to be used in specific areas.

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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of structure building framework.

Key players in structure building framework – 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 structure building framework

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 220 Unlock company profile
Gebr Knauf 184 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Hathaway 138 Unlock company profile
Simpson Manufacturing 130 Unlock company profile
Rockwool International 120 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 81 Unlock company profile
Patco 65 Unlock company profile
BASF 55 Unlock company profile
ConXtech 54 Unlock company profile
Nichiha 52 Unlock company profile
CertainTeed Gypsum 51 Unlock company profile
China State Construction Engineering 45 Unlock company profile
Swiss Krono Holding 45 Unlock company profile
Aspen Aerogels 36 Unlock company profile
LG 35 Unlock company profile
Armstrong World Industries 33 Unlock company profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 32 Unlock company profile
Lone Star Japan Acquisitions 32 Unlock company profile
Shizuka Company 27 Unlock company profile
Kobe Steel 27 Unlock company profile
Yamaha 26 Unlock company profile
Pacific Coast Building Products 25 Unlock company profile
Eaton 25 Unlock company profile
Hexcel 21 Unlock company profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 20 Unlock company profile
Sager Pharma Kft 20 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 19 Unlock company profile
Nippon Steel 19 Unlock company profile
Carlisle Companies 18 Unlock company profile
Howard Hughes 18 Unlock company profile
Sartorius 18 Unlock company profile
Bull Moose Tube Company 17 Unlock company profile
National Gypsum Properties 17 Unlock company profile
Liaver 15 Unlock company profile
Hunt Tech 15 Unlock company profile
Fortress Iron 14 Unlock company profile
Studco Australia 14 Unlock company profile
James Hardie Industries 14 Unlock company profile
BlueScope Steel 14 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 14 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 14 Unlock company profile
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP 13 Unlock company profile
Endurance RP 13 Unlock company profile
Cabot 13 Unlock company profile
HercuTech 13 Unlock company profile
POSCO Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
Unifrax I 12 Unlock company profile
Signify 12 Unlock company profile
Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration 11 Unlock company profile
Green James E 11 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading company in the structural framework building space is Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, which has recently filed a patent for an acoustic plaster-based board. The boards include a core made of plaster positioned between two coating layers, in which a textile including fibres of a thermoplastic polymer constitutes at least one of the coating layers. Conventional plaster-based boards are generally composite boards comprising a core made of plaster positioned between two coating layers made of paper or of cardboard. These new boards, however, have mechanical properties which meet the standards in force, in particular a good resistance to deflection under load. Other leading companies in this space include Gebr Knauff, Simpson Manufacturing, and Rockwool International.

In terms of application diversity, the leading companies are Louisiana-Pacific, Gerflor, and Rookwool International. In terms of geographic reach, the leading companies are Aspen Aerogels, Green James E, and Schindler.

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.