The COINS Grand Challenge is a global competition that aims to give a kick-start to ideas that could transform the construction industry and built environment

Could your idea improve the construction industry or the built environment?

The COINS Grand Challenge 2021 is an exciting platform for people whose ideas could improve construction or the built environment, from improving efficiency, sustainability or safety to utilising new technologies or reducing waste.

This global competition is an opportunity for people to kickstart their ideas, win cash prizes of up to £100,000 and network with construction industry influencers.

There is an impressive line-up of judges for the 2021 COINS Grand Challenge, with leading figures from the construction industry agreeing to be part of the virtual judging panel.

These include:

Mark Beard, who is president of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), a chartered environmentalist and chairman and chief executive of Beard.

He said: “The COINS Grand Challenge is an opportunity for people to come forward and demonstrate their knowledge and ideas. The construction industry has traditionally been slow to update, modernise and improve its productivity so this is a step in the right direction.

“It’s important that there is a link between the ideas and how they could be introduced into the construction industry on a day-to-day basis.

“The COINS Grand Challenge is a chance for people to turn their initial idea into something that is significant, something that could change the way the construction industry works in the future.

“Being involved in the COINS Grand Challenge is also a learning opportunity for myself, being exposed to new ideas stretches my thoughts on what is possible in our industry.”

Also on the judging panel is Susan Campion, joint managing director of Scottish housebuilder Campion Homes, where she is leading a change programme across the business. Campion is also a non-executive director for Commonwealth Games Scotland.

She says: “I think the COINS Grand Challenge is an incredible opportunity for innovators from around the world to showcase what the future of construction could look like. The competition provides a fantastic platform to present exciting ideas for change in this sector.

Opportunity for new ideas

“Historically, the construction industry has been slow to adapt to new technology. In housebuilding, in particular, our customers demand innovation and creativity in their homes and the issue of carbon reduction is now at the forefront of all of our designs. It’s imperative that we can respond to customer demands so we need new ideas coming forward all of the time.

“I’m delighted to be involved in the COINS Grand Challenge as it provides an opportunity for new ideas and for change to be presented, considered, discussed and ultimately rewarded.

“When looking at ideas I will be considering, is it really new, is it a new use of technology, does it solve a problem? I am interested in the potential commercial impact although I appreciate that not all of the ideas presented will be at the commercial stage of their development, and also whether there is a social or environmental impact. As well as this, I am very interested in the individuals presenting their ideas, are they committed towards making their idea a reality and do they have the focus and determination to succeed?”

Judges also include US-based Stuart Binstock, who is president and CEO of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). He has extensive experience in management issues, including strategic planning, government affairs, educational programming and delivery, financial management, membership development, non-dues revenue growth, programme development and process improvements.

Shortlisted ideas for previous competitions range from 3D printing “antbots” and sustainable building materials to modular construction systems, asset management technology and nanofluid-based heating concepts.

Winner of last year’s Open competition was US-based Ali Khaloo, CEO and founder of Aren. His winning idea is a service, civil infrastructure management platform to assess and manage infrastructure using computer vision, machine learning and civil engineering. As well as reducing the risk of failure of these assets, this also optimises spending across the asset portfolio.

He comments: “We are uniquely combining civil engineering with artificial intelligence using our patented technology to really change the status quo and move asset management towards the way that it should be in the 21st century.”

A UK engineering student from the University of Sheffield won the Undergraduate Competition. Krithiga Ravichandran, who was studying image, electronic and communications engineering, impressed the judges with her idea to utilise 3D printer construction robots known as antbots for digital remote construction with the goal of creating an internet of things ecosystem where engineers and construction workers coordinate with their robotic peers to handle simple, on-site structural manufacturing.

“By smartly printing the structures on-site with a limited number of human workers, we can revolutionise productivity in the construction industry,” she adds.

The 2021 COINS Grand Challenge is now open for entries, with the deadline for entries being 28 June 2021 – find out more here.

This global competition is organised by construction software company Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) to inspire innovation within the construction industry.



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