Bam Nuttall has announced a new 5G construction project in Shetland. The company is using new 5G network innovation technology on their SSEN Transmission Shetland project to help meet future energy needs

BAM Nuttall, in partnership with Attocore and Building Research Establishment (BRE), is using a private, stand-alone 5G network on a construction site, for the first time in the UK.

The project, located on a remote site in Shetland, is designing and constructing the civil infrastructure at Kergord on Shetland for SSEN Transmission’s HVDC convertor station and substation.

When completed, this major link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland will feed renewable energy to the electricity grid and connect Shetland to the GB grid for the first time, supporting its future security of supply.

The 5G network is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and aims to test the potential of new digital technology and demonstrate tangible benefits, along with other stand-alone networks implemented across a range of industries.

The project site at Kergord provides the ideal conditions to measure the benefits for the construction industry, as the challenges faced on building sites are often magnified and will stretch the use of 5G technology.

The Shetland site is built on challenging terrain, and the weather conditions are often cold, wet, and harsh, with limited daylight hours during the winter.

Clients and management teams can’t easily visit the site and rely on reports, data, images, and insights to track progress and make decisions based in offices, 100s of miles from site.

BAM’s project team is collecting evidence of how 5G network technology can help improve safety, sustainability and increase collaboration.

One of the most exciting opportunities is how technology impacts the design of jobs in engineering and construction, with the hope that 5G technology will support more flexible working and increase the appeal of careers in construction to a wider diversity of people.

5G network to unlock more efficient construction methods

Colin Evison, head of innovation at BAM Nuttall said: “5G is unlocking increased use of digital tools and models as we explore safer, more modern and efficient ways to work in construction. We’re excited for the next steps as we trial new solutions which, without the 5G network, wouldn’t be possible.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the results and ultimately sharing the benefits across wider industry.

“We’re proud to be working in collaboration with SSEN Transmission and thank them for supporting this trial as we help deliver the decarbonisation of Scotland – helping to achieve net-zero carbon, and increase diversity, by modernising construction.”

‘Revolutionising the way Britain builds’

Minister for media, data and digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez also commented: “5G can revolutionise the way Britain builds, which is why we’re investing £200 million in cutting-edge innovation projects to ensure we unleash its ability to drive growth across the construction industry.

“With 5G now switched on at this exciting project in Shetland, it will unlock a huge range of transformative tech from cameras and drones that enable builders to work more flexibly, to mixed-reality glasses so they can see 3D building designs live on site.”

BAM’s team is deploying numerous 5G supported solutions, including digital live cameras and drones; mixed-reality and virtual visualization; artificial intelligence and Internet of Things sensors to monitor construction processes and measure progress.

Benefits of a 5G network:

  • Safety: Using artificial intelligence to carry out site surveys and send back live data means less people surveying remote locations and tracking progress; hard-hats with location sensors to track people’s whereabouts and alert safety advisors.
  • Quality job design: More data analytics, operating tech and using augmented reality and digital models to detect clashes; more collaboration, and less time out on-site in bad weather.
  • Accurate, live data driving decisions and collaboration: Access to live drone footage and cameras on site; time-lapse photography and footage, visualising project progress.


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