Welcome Investment in the Future of the UK Construction Industry

Welcome Investment in the Future of the UK Construction Industry

15th February 2019

As we reported in our monthly News Roundup last week, there’s been some good news for the construction industry here in the UK in the shape of an £18 million investment in new technologies.  It’s hoped that this will transform the face of construction here in Britain through a range of projects that are designed to make our industry more productive, efficient and sustainable.  Today we’re going to take a more detailed look at this welcome news.

The funding is being made via UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a new organisation which is partnering with research organisation, businesses, universities, charities and government, to create an environment in which research and innovation can flourish.   Chief Executive of UKRI, Sir Mark Walport states that through such projects, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund “allows us to catalyse innovation across the UK’s vital construction industry improving productivity, sustainability and safety”.

A massive portion (£5 million) of this funding is aimed at four new research projects which are committed to speeding up assembly, saving money, and improving the quality of UK building projects. 

One of the projects is led by a team at University College London (UCL) and is examining the use of “swarms” of robots to collectively design and build structures.  Another project at Loughborough University is working on the development of the next generation of Hybrid Concrete Printing (HCP) technology to produce building components that will allow the intelligent integration of building performance, energy production and storage technologies.  Meanwhile the University of Bath is looking at using digital tools to promote a sustainable approach to concrete use with the ACORN project (Automating Concrete Construction) and the University of West England is exploring the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented reality that should result in engineers making more effective use of BIM software.

The remaining £13 million will be invested in more than 20 initiatives to be delivered in collaboration with Innovate UK, a non-governmental public body which is part of the UK Research and Innovation organisation.  The projects receiving the funding include a consortium aimed at lowering the costs of off-site manufacturing (OSM), the development of new piling solutions which integrate energy and rainwater re-use when laying the foundations of buildings, and the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms in scheduling construction projects. 

According to Construction Minister, Richard Harrington, using digital techniques, artificial intelligence and off-site manufacturing methods will enable the construction sector to adopt new methods of working, and deliver on the Construction Sector Deal which is dedicated to creating buildings which perform better and use less energy, thus providing tax payers with better value for money.

These are exciting developments for the construction industry here in the UK as we approach the future with safer and more efficient methods of working.  If you want to keep up with the news and issues affecting construction here in the UK, why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter and make sure you’re getting the news as it happens.