The future is virtual

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The government has announced a £72M investment which will see virtual reality revolutionise the UK’s construction sector.

In a move designed to improve productivity within the sector, in line with government policy, virtual reality, digital design and offsite manufacturing technologies will be pushed forward as the future of UK construction.

The investment will allow the development of a new Core Innovation Hub, as part of the modern Industrial Strategy, which will make the UK a world leader in the latest construction techniques – as well as creating new jobs across the UK.

The new Core Innovation Hub will transform the UK’s construction industry by supporting the development and use of technologies such as digital design, advanced manufacturing, robotics, drones and augmented and virtual reality.

Many of these techniques are used and proven in other sectors, such as automotive manufacturing, but it will be a first for construction. The increased use of technology will enable the sector to design and build faster, cheaper and more sustainably. Smart sensors and digital systems will be incorporated into buildings and infrastructure, so they can manage and maintain themselves – and the data they gather will enable the government and industry to make our towns and cities better places to live, work and travel in.

The investment was announced by Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington, during a visit to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), which is receiving funding, and is part of the Core Innovation Hub. He 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.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick said: “Our manufacturing industry is vital to the UK, contributing billions to the economy every year.

“This new fund will see it partner with our construction and digital sectors to revolutionise the way we develop crucial infrastructure. It will enable us to build in more efficient and cost-effective ways, boost productivity and ensure we are fit for the future.”

The delivery of the hub was awarded to the Transforming Construction Alliance (a partnership between BRE, MTC and CDBB) following a nationwide competition launched as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Keith Waller, Programme Director for the Transforming Construction Alliance said: “I am delighted to be leading the Transforming Construction Alliance in its mission to deliver the Core Innovation Hub project, and boost productivity and performance in the construction sector.

“I look forward to working alongside government, industry and the talented teams at MTC, BRE and CDBB to realise the vision of a transformed sector.”

The alliance aims to deliver a national Core Innovation Hub (CIH) that will support collaboration across sectors to develop, commercialise and promote digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector, offering an opportunity for everyone with an interest in construction to become involved.

Find out more: www.transformingconstruction.org.uk

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