Digital Investment Set to Transform the Future of Construction

OVER £18 million is being invested through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to transform the future of UK construction.

The funding from UK Research and Innovation is part of the transforming construction challenge – a £170 million government commitment, matched by £250 million from industry – to embed new approaches and techniques that could enable the UK to become an industry world leader.

A total of £13.3 million has been awarded to 24 projects. The aim of the projects is to develop digital simulations that support the design and management of buildings as well as adopting offsite manufacturing approaches that improve build quality.

Included in the awarded projects are:

  • A nPlanKier and University of Cambridge project, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms to better predict, plan and schedule construction projects.
  • A consortium including housebuilder, Barratt Developments and social landlords L&Q. The project aims to make offsite manufacturing a viable alternative to traditional methods by exploring how it can bring down the costs, reduce defects and improve productivity.
  • Keltbray Group-led project to develop a new piling technology that will aim to enhance capacity and improve sustainability when laying foundations.

Construction Minister, Richard Harrington, said: “The use of artificial intelligence, digital techniques and off-site manufacturing help us harness new methods of working and delivers on the government’s Construction Sector Deal.”

A further £5 million is being invested into talented teams to take on a complex research programme as part of the transforming construction challenge.

There are also four research projects that will share funding. These range from exploring the potential for digitally-designed, 3D-printed concrete components, to assessing the use of robots for both on and off-site construction.

Another project will look at integrating voice-activated AI and augmented reality in the assembly of components to speed up construction and increase productivity.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive, said: “Technologies being developed in the UK provide a significant opportunity to transform the way we build, such as the use of augmented reality to improve design or robotics to aid complex building assembly.

“Through projects such as these, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund allows us to catalyse innovation across the UK’s construction industry, improving productivity, sustainability and safety.”



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