Staffordshire materials technology company Ceram is expanding its construction services by setting up a Technology Development Group (TDG).
The team will focus on the development of new materials, products and technologies, as well as investigating better ways of using existing products and materials in the light of environmental concerns and shortages.
Directors at Ceram believe the construction TDG will help put the Stoke-on-Trent firm at the leading edge of building product and materials knowledge and research.
Tony Kinsella, Chief Executive at Ceram, said: “The construction industry is facing some significant challenges.
“Environmental regulation is increasing, and key materials are likely to become more scarce and expensive.
“The TDG will look at ways of using less of these materials, or replacing them altogether with different materials. It will also look at the whole life cycle of buildings and building products and come up with more imaginative ways of re-using and recycling them.
“Finding solutions to these problems will give our customers really significant competitive advantages. It will also be of real economic benefit, and we want to make sure that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are at the heart of that process.”
Ceram is initially looking to recruit four construction technology experts to join the TDG, which will also study the energy efficiency of buildings and test insulation materials.
In addition, the specialists will expand work with UK and overseas academic institutions and businesses to learn more about the properties and performance of materials such as cement, aggregates, steel and timber.
Dr Geoff Edgell, Director and Principal Construction Consultant at Ceram, said: “Green legislation is going to put the construction industry under even more pressure.
“The sector is going to have to find new ways of building things with new products. Not only that, the performance of completed buildings is going to have to improve in terms of thermal and energy efficiency to meet environmental targets and rules.
“Of course that’s going to cause construction businesses some headaches, but it will also create real opportunities.
“The TDG will put Ceram at the forefront of finding solutions, which in turn will benefit our customers and the industry as a whole.”
Ceram works with customers from across the world at its structures laboratory in Stoke-on-Trent.
Last year Ceram completed testing on advanced metal cladding system being used to stop radiation leaking from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.
Ceram employs more than 120 people in North Staffordshire, many of them with degrees and PhDs. It specialises in materials, innovation and resource efficiency consultancy and testing across a range of sectors including medical devices, aerospace, defence, construction, ceramics and pharmaceuticals.