Hand-powered breaker

Some innovations are a little less dramatic than others but may be more useful, such as this breaker from Goldblatt Tools. Although the Ram Rod is completely human powered, it uses a piston-action mechanism to increase the force at the tip by 3 times. It comes with a spike bit for breaking, several chisels, and a scraper bit. It packs a punch despite weighing only 15 lbs. (with a 5-lb. collar for extra weight where needed). You’re not going to do major demolition work with this, but it will sure be handy for smaller tasks.

Steel-fiber repair concrete

Some of the most innovative ideas in the concrete industry are on the repair side of things. In Switzerland, one researcher has figured out a way to use ultra-high performance concrete to repair bridges, pavements, and other infrastructure. Eugen Brühwiler, head of the Swiss Laboratory of Maintenance, Construction, and Safety for Civil Structures, is using ultra-high performance fiber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) with steel fibers and no coarse aggregate. He claims that this material can be used to make long-lasting repairs instead of replacing valuable structures. “Here in Switzerland, we have understood that we can get a lot more out of what we already have,” he says.

Polishing system

Polished concrete floors aren’t new, but their use is growing dramatically as owners begin to see the benefits and beauty. But polished concrete is neither fool-proof nor completely maintenance free. So it was just a matter of time before someone figured out how to produce a polished floor with a warranty. Husqvarna has come out with what they call Hiperfloor that is being sold to owners with certified Hiperfloor contractors following a five-step process of grinding, filling surface voids, applying hardeners, polishing, and applying a guard. With a certified installer and Husqvarna equipment and materials, the company provides a 7-year warranty.

App of the Month


Overhead Calculator

Contractors too often have only a vague idea of how their overhead is being recovered on a project. This iPhone app from the Stevens Construction Institute can help. The Direct Cost Overhead Allocation Calculator develops a costing equation for bidding a project, costing an existing project, or allocating overhead to several divisions of work. It relies on banking information and an accurate yearly overhead budget to produce a percentage allocation for each class of cost, which is the cost of overhead to manage the direct costs.