Realising the value of a digitally enabled construction sector
Construction is no longer a muddy boots and shovel industry. Recent thoughts on rebranding the construction industry take a look at some of the world leading work being done in the area of BIM and the digitisation of construction. The recent report by the CPA, The Future for Construction Product Manufacturers presents the digitisation of construction processes. Looking at how BIM, smart factories and optimised supply chains can be linked to optimise construction. A joined up approach that the recent Farmer Review highlighted as so desperately needed by the construction sector.
Tom Shaw, Director at Ramboll, references the recent Farmer Report, saying “we must encourage developing new technologies to flourish amongst more traditional construction techniques” He presents cross-laminated timber, pre-cast concrete and prefabricated volumetric pods as potential answers to speeding the delivery of housing. Indeed offsite construction is often referenced when considering modern methods of construction.
Recently McAvoy have announced a £10m investment boost to their modular construction offering. As well as adapting our construction approach we can also engage new technologies such as Building Control interacting with robotic workers & monitoring through AI The adoption of smart construction and the barriers to them are considered in a CLC report: Roadmapping to improve productivity
As well as innovation in the construction process the industry is seeing steps forward in the materials used. Construction materials are becoming more and more sophisticated, with qualities such as flaw-tolerance, shape memory, self-healing, even perspiring! Materials are available that fight against anti-biotic resistance. Innovative materials can also mean innovative re-use of materials, such as the starter home made from coffee cups.
The next phase
The UK is among the world leaders in utilising digital technology in construction. Indeed Ann Kemp of the UK BIM Alliance has said that they hope to see BIM Level 2 as ‘business as usual’ by 2020. And whole life is not only being driven by BIM but also by a Circular Economy approach. Recently the BSI have drafted a Circular Economy Framework and are calling for comments.
Significantly Innovate UK and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy have partnered, to deliver through Digital Built Britain, the next phase of digitisation in the construction sector spearheading the drive to BIM level 3 to reduce cost and increase value.