New Technology and Innovation in ConstructionFriday 11 August
A year has passed since the government BIM level 2 mandate came into force and the UK is seeing world leading work being done in the area of BIM. Yet since the level 2 mandate there is fear that Brexit could intensify the skills gap faced by the industry, and further impact on the rising costs of materials. These circumstances have caused the construction industry to rally for change. With digital technology as an enabler we are seeing an innovative approach in the areas of pre-manufacture, sustainability and new construction methods.
Competitive Advantage have researched 140 construction decision makers to understand how new technology and innovation is being adopted. This research New Technology and Innovation in the Construction presents qualitative and quantitative data. The purpose of the report is to provide manufacturers and other suppliers with an understanding of the areas of opportunity relating to product innovation. This impartial research provides indicators of what specifiers are looking for from manufacturers of construction products, offering up ideas on quick wins, as well as long term innovation requirements.
How will the construction industry prioritise and adopt innovation?
At the end of last year Mark Farmer, with his review of the construction industry announced that we must Modernise or Die. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) also presented a vision for the industry, stating that the industry cannot deliver the homes and infrastructure needed in the UK by continuing to do things the way it always has. More recently the government whitepaper, Fixing our broken housing market references modern methods of construction as a way to boost productivity and build homes faster.
Construction is now seeing innovations and initiatives driving change in the areas of pre-manufacture, sustainability and new construction methods. This innovation is being driven by a need to address the challenges the industry currently faces; Taking a different approach could help the industry deliver capacity in the midst of a skills crisis and increasing material costs.
But how will our industry prioritise and adopt these changes? Plenty of reports have been published about these new technologies, but Competitive Advantage wanted to understand what the construction decision making unit thought of these. To understand this Competitive Advantage talked to key decision makers; Manufacturers, Architects, Engineers, Main Contractors, Specialist Contractors and Housebuilders. While all see opportunities in these innovations, and there is some parallel thinking, it is also clear that there is divergence in priorities as well as a reluctance to adopt new concepts in some sectors.
BIM is a key enabler, with the potential to provide a link between design and technology-lead trends such as, Smart Factories, The Circular Economy and Virtual Supply Chains. These initiatives provide an opportunity in the short term for the manufacturer to innovate and gain a lead over competitors. For example by providing such innovations as product identifiers or the ability of a product to signal when maintenance or replacement is required.
What also became clear was that some of the features decision makers want to see are not at the edge of technology and would be relatively simple for manufacturers to make available today, such as product identifiers and offsite manufacture. Our report New Technology and Innovation in Construction should help understand these opportunities/ The research provides indicators in the areas of Offsite; Product Identification and Reporting; Sustainability; Automatic Product Design and Installation; Remote Monitoring and Augmented Reality. It is intended that the decision makers’ view of key innovation drivers, which this report provides, will help to inform those deciding future product development strategies.