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Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Will Transform How the UK Delivers Buildings

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is making over £18 million available to research, development and innovation projects to enable a more skilled, productive, and efficient UK construction industry.

The UK Research and Innovation is part of the challenge to transform the construction industry. The government committed £170 million, which the industry matched with £250 million, to adopt and integrate new techniques and approaches that can position the UK as a world leader.

A total of 24 projects has received £13.3 million. They will involve the industry collaborating with the research base to enable innovations. The awarded projects include:

  • A project that will use algorithms and AI to improve the prediction, planning, and scheduling of construction projects. The goal is to reduce time and cost and optimise buildings.
  • A consortium that includes a leading housebuilder and one of the largest social landlords. Their project strives to make offsite manufacturing a sustainable alternative to traditional methods by examining how it can reduce costs and defects and improve productivity.
  • A project to develop a new piling technology that will improve capacity and sustainability when foundations are laid.

The ultimate aim for all projects is to:

  • Develop digital simulations that support building design and management
  • Improve building quality by adopting offsite manufacturing strategies
  • Enable active generation and storage of power in the buildings

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According to Richard Harrington, the construction minister, the use of offsite manufacturing, digital techniques, and artificial intelligence will make it possible to adopt new working methods that deliver on the Construction Sector Deal.

He said that these new approaches to help the construction industry confirm the UK government's Modern Industrial Strategy’s goal of using technological and scientific advances to build a better tomorrow for everyone.

An additional £5 million is being invested to make it possible for leading researchers to create talented teams and assume responsibility for a complex research programme within the context of the challenge to transform construction.

Four research projects will share this funding. They range from researching the potential for 3D-printed concrete components to reviewing the use of robots for on and offsite construction.

Another project will try to increase productivity and speed up construction by integrating augmented reality and voice-activated AI in component assembly.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of the UKRI, said that technologies being developed have the potential to transform the way building is done, such as using robots to support building assembly and augmented reality to make design better.

He said that the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will use projects like these to support innovation across the British construction industry while improving safety, sustainability, and productivity.

Transforming Construction Challenge Director Sam Stacey said that these grants play an important part on making transformation possible across the sector.

Mr. Stacey said that they will make it possible for the construction industry to work closely with successful researchers to review new ways of working that will save money, make assembly faster, and improve building project quality.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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