Four new research projects that aim to speed up assembly, save money, and improve the quality of UK building projects is to be announced today (31 January) by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

The construction industry could be transformed using 3D printed concrete, teams of robots to manufacture and assemble buildings, and offsite manufacturing as part of £18m in new Government funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

A new £5m Research Leaders programme will develop innovative solutions to transform the construction industry and deliver, better-performing homes, better jobs and better value for taxpayers as part of the Industrial Strategy.

Another project will research how voice-activated Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality can be integrated with the assembly of components to boost construction and increase productivity, without compromising health and safety.

In addition, UKRI announced £13.3m, to fund 24 collaborative research and development projects, delivered by Innovate UK, in the construction sector that addresses the three core aims of the Transforming Construction Challenge programme:

  • Designing and managing buildings through digitally-enabled simulation
  • Constructing quality buildings through offsite manufacturing approaches
  • Powering buildings with active generation and storage.

Construction Minister, Richard Harrington, said: “The use of Artificial Intelligence, digital techniques and offsite manufacturing, help us harness new methods of working. This delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector Deal which pledges to build better performing buildings, using less energy and providing better value for taxpayers.

“These new methods to help the construction industry are a testament to the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy’s aims of building a better tomorrow for us all through scientific and technological advances.”

Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive, added: “Technologies being developed in the UK provide a significant opportunity to transform the way we build, such as the use of augmented reality to improve design or robotics to aid complex building assembly.

“Through projects such as these, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund allows us to catalyse innovation across the UK’s vital construction industry improving productivity, sustainability and safety.”

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