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The industry has a prime opportunity to set a new course and increase the pace towards digitalisation. The Construction Innovation Hub’s digital impact director David Philp explains
Whether we are working with industry or academic
partners our aim is to maintain an open dialogue, share insight and knowledge
of real-world experience and work collaboratively. The Construction Innovation
Hub brings together world-class expertise from the Manufacturing Technology
Centre (MTC), BRE and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to transform
the UK construction industry and deliver a digital programme that is shaped and
informed by industry need and insight to support a consistent approach and
enable digital transformation at scale.
Digital transformation of the entire industry is not
something we can achieve by trying to pull, or drag, everyone along with us. We
need industry to be engaged and motivated and to share our vision of a more
innovative, productive and resilient sector. As the Construction Leadership
Council’s Roadmap to Recovery makes clear, in order to create a truly
innovative culture we must embed digital technologies and processes.
The recent shift towards digitally enabled collaboration in
the construction sector (and the economy at large) is a powerful a reminder of
the transformative potential for digital technologies to enable more
sustainable, and productive ways of delivering and operating our buildings and infrastructure.
We must ensure that the collective drive towards carbon neutrality and the environmental gains achieved during lockdown are not temporary. Digital and applied technologies can help us model and understand the parameters of sustainable operations and optimise whole life CO2 outcomes transforming how and what we build. With a drive towards high performing assets and computing, energy analysis and automated sensors we can better achieve the fundamental goal of net zero.
High quality manufacturing
Over the next decade, traditional construction will
increasingly give way to high-quality manufactured solutions. At the Hub, we
will implement a Platform Design Programme, building on the government’s
ambition and Infrastructure Project Authority’s (IPA) call for evidence for
platform-based design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA). This will be
co-developed with industrial partners to create new integrated,
digitally-enabled manufactured components and sub-assemblies.
The whole asset lifecycle of the platform solutions will be
hosted in a digital environment providing compliance assurance and optimised
operation through roll out of digital twins. This market will be underpinned by
new business models, an upskilled workforce, new methods for product
introduction and testing of assemblies.
In addition to accelerating the pace of sector
transformation, we can also help to maintain the UK’s reputation as a
world-leader for the digital built environment, benefiting the sector and the
wider economy. The first step will be to accelerate the uptake of digital tools
and processes, particularly those developed in partnership with industry, such
as the UK BIM Framework and its associated guidance.
With building owners increasingly needing to reorganise and
prioritise their portfolios of built assets, the Hub is creating guidance and
frameworks to demonstrate how digitisation of an existing estate together with
a joined up data approach can lead to better decision making and a more co-ordinated
asset management strategy based upon more complete and accurate asset
Despite the progress that’s been made, we still have a long way to go to accelerate digital transformation and build future resilience as well as greater opportunities for all. If you’d like to keep up to date with developments from the Hub, you can sign up to our newsletter, or visit our website for more information and support on how to get involved with increasing the pace towards digitalisation.
David Philp is impact director at the Construction Innovation Hub, chair of the CIOB digital special interest group and global BIM/IM consultancy director at Aecom. He will be speaking at the Digital Construction Summit 2020 next week. Click here to register.