The UK government will invest £72m to establish a Core Innovation Hub (CIH), which will focus on the use of Virtual reality, digital design and offsite manufacturing technologies to revolutionise the UK construction industry.
Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington said that the hub will support the development and use of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, digital design, robotics, drones and advanced manufacturing.
The investment in the CIH will be made as part of the Industrial Strategy with the objective to make the UK a leader in the latest construction techniques and create new jobs across the country.
Other sectors such as automotive manufacturing are already using these technologies, and the construction sector will use them for the first time.
The government expects these technologies to allow the construction sector to design and build faster, cheaper and more sustainably.
By using these technologies, buildings and infrastructure will feature smart sensors and digital systems, which will allow them to manage and maintain themselves.
Moreover, data gathered by the sensors and systems will enable the government and the industry to make towns and cities better places to live, work and travel in.
Harrington, who visited the Building Research Establishment (BRE) which is receiving funding and is part of the CIH, said: “We have the opportunity to revolutionise construction in the UK and the Core Innovation Hub will help us build smarter, greener and more efficient buildings much faster and cheaper than we do now.
“From the introduction of virtual reality to off-site manufacturing, our modern Industrial Strategy is helping the UK construction sector to develop new techniques and skills – modernising the sector and delivering the homes and buildings our nation needs.”
Through UK Research and Innovation, the government has awarded the £72m to the Transforming Construction Alliance (TCA) to deliver the national hub.
The TCA is a partnership between the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC); BRE; and Cambridge University’s Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB).
Through the Core Innovation Hub, the CDBB will continue to develop a framework, pilot projects and principles that will guide the development of digital twins for built assets and infrastructure, to ensure that the data is interoperable, supporting better integration of services across the built environment.
Image: The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) at the University of Cambridge. Photo: Courtesy of University of Cambridge.