£72m Core Innovation Hub to transform UK construction industry

A new Core Innovation Hub aims to support the construction industry’s development and use of technologies such as digital design, advanced and offsite manufacturing, robotics, drones and augmented and virtual reality.

UK Construction equipment innovations demonstrated at the Manufacturing Technology Centre - image courtesy of MTC.
Construction equipment innovations demonstrated at the Manufacturing Technology Centre – image courtesy of MTC.

Much like manufacturing, the UK construction industry is facing a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to change and modernise.

Techniques such as digital design, advanced manufacturing, robotics, drones and virtual reality are already being proven in other sectors, such as automotive manufacturing, but many of them will be a first for construction.

The increased use of largely digital technologies could see the sector design and build faster, cheaper and more sustainably.

Smart sensors and digital systems will be incorporated into buildings and infrastructure, so they can manage and maintain themselves. Furthermore, the data they gather will enable the government and industry to make towns and cities better places to live, work and travel in.

The Transforming Construction Alliance

The national Core Innovation Hub (CIH), funded by a £72m investment from the government, will be delivered by the Transforming Construction Alliance (TCA).

The TCA is partnership between three centres of established excellence: Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Building Research Establishment (BRE), and Cambridge University’s Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB).

According to the TCA, its mission is to be a catalyst for transforming the UK construction sector through manufacturing technologies and digital ways of working – boosting productivity, exports and asset performance to benefit society.

The CIH will support collaboration across sectors to develop, commercialise and promote digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector, offering an opportunity for everyone with an interest in construction to become involved.

This should enable the country to master precision manufacturing resulting in the delivery of better performing schools, hospitals and homes, to the benefit of businesses, public services and people.

It is also hoped that ensuring the UK’s construction industry is best equipped and fit for the future will lead to increased safety on sites, with fewer workers put into dangerous environments.