Globalization – it’s a term frequently used to explain how consumers’ demand for new products; and manufacturers’ need for new markets, has resulted in many brands becoming household names on every continent and in cities around the world. It’s a fact that the logos of Starbucks Coffee, and Apple Computer are as familiar in Taipei, Taiwan and London, England as they are in Foster City, California. With communication at the speed of light via the Internet, the list of well-known global brands grows longer every day.  

So how does globalization apply to construction and what are some of the likely mega-trends as they relate to our industry? We have long been used to seeing great companies like Caterpillar and JCB moving earth efficiently in most corners of the developed and developing world. Yet, truly global construction companies, with some notable exceptions, have yet to establish themselves as household names. Unless the household happens to include a well-read construction insider, such as many of the well-informed readers of FORM MARKS@ magazine, for example!  

There is, however, at least one very recognizable form of globalization that seems to be gaining momentum in construction. That is the rapid move to redevelop and expand the city landscape with mixed-use commercial and high­rise apartment and condominium developments. This trend has been gaining momentum in many countries and is fueled by large numbers of people wanting improved access to jobs, recreation, and the opportunity for a better way of life. In developing countries, the trend may be the result of a new generation looking to improve themselves and move away from their rural heritage. Whereas in highly developed countries, retirement condominiums and affordable high-rise apartments are sprouting in the U.S. sun­belt states to accommodate, among others, baby-boomers looking for alternative housing and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities.  

Sound familiar? Observers in places as far apart as Miami, Las Vegas, Kuala Lumpur and Manila will all have observed the global phenomena called “condominiums” (or flats, if you prefer). There is an indication that high-rise housing will continue to be a solution of choice to meet the housing and lifestyle needs of a growing minority of the world’s population.  

As a consequence, traditional low-density, low-rise houses, and the craft-based skills that it takes to build them, are being replaced by medium and high-rise concrete buildings. These structures require modern construction methods and concrete technologies that are increasingly available to engineers and construction workers on every continent. Indeed, the skyward reach of high-rise construction could be viewed as a type of globalization that our industry is actively involved. This globalization results in very similar construction workplaces, where similar skills and methods are on display every day.  

How do EFCO Forming solutions help to meet the needs of this truly global phenomena:  

•  POWER TOWER® for self-climbing cores 

•  E-Z DECK® for elevated slabs 

•  EFCO-LITE® for shear walls and columns 

•  EFCO-Cunningham® System for parking structures 

As each new high-rise housing project is completed, other global businesses spring up to meet the needs of the new urban population – from IKEA to the Apple Store, with hardly time for a cup of Starbucks in between. It’s the new urban reality, and it is a new type of construction globalization coming to a town or city near you. 

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