Construction innovation to get a boost following creation of new expert team

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construction innovation
(from L-R) Trudi Sully, Susan Hone-Brookes, Phill Cartwright

A team of high-experienced individuals has been created at the Manufacturing Catapult with the aim of spearheading construction innovation

Infrastructure and construction innovation is to be the focus of a newly assembled team of experts at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

The team will comprise of former chief technology officer at the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult Phill Cartwright; Chartered Engineer and board member of CIBSE Susan Hone-Brookes; and Innovate UK’s former relationship manager for the HVM Catapult Trudi Sully.

The three experts will be backed by the MTC Group, which has access to world-leading engineers as well as state-of-the-art equipment. It is hoped a collaborative approach to construction innovation will bring about a radical shakeup of the industry while enabling it to meet targets set out in the government’s Construction 2025 strategy and National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-21. The team will work under the banner of ‘Working Together: Transforming Construction’.

Manufacturing Technology Centre

The MTC was established in 2010 and houses some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world. It provides a specialised environment to develop and demonstrate how innovation can be applied to the market.

Working with industry, academia and other institutions, the MTC has expertise across a range of areas. It forms part of the HVM Catapult, which is supported by Innovate UK.

Hone-Brookes said: “Having worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years I am fully aware of its strengths and weaknesses.

“The Construction 2025 strategy has set out an ambitious vision for the sector of a 33 per cent reduction in whole life costs, 50 per cent reduction in delivery periods and a 50 per cent improvement in the emission of greenhouse gases.

“In addition to that, the Farmer Review, published last year for the Construction Leadership Council, has issued a stern warning calling for the industry to modernise or die.

“The recommendations include investing in research and development, embracing new technologies, increasing collaboration and ensuring it has a future skilled workforce to meet demands.

“The MTC is perfectly primed to be a catalyst for change in the construction and infrastructure sectors using the transfer of knowledge and its manufacturing capability, already proven in other industries. Working together we can transform the sectors. We are very much at the start of an exciting and challenging journey.”

Collaborative construction

Construction firm Skanska joined the MTC last month, pledging its commitment to develop new technologies that will benefit the industry. Amey, HS2, Autodesk and Forterra are also all members.

Strategic development director at the MTC Neil Rawlinson said: “We know the challenges that are facing the construction and infrastructure sectors and know we can influence and create change.

“We have played a vital role inspiring British manufacturing by providing an agile low-risk environment for innovation, producing a future workforce through our apprenticeship scheme and supporting SMEs.

“We can draw on all of that to deliver solutions for the construction and infrastructure industry from SMEs through to the major organisations.

“To help us achieve this, we have brought together Phill, Susan and Trudi who are extremely knowledgeable about the sector and are passionate about seeing it succeed.

“This will be a significant game changer not only for the construction and infrastructure industries but for the wider UK.”

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