BIM innovation wins COINS Grand Challenge

BIM COINS Grand Challenge

A BIM innovation has won top prize in the international Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) Grand Challenge, announced yesterday (12 October).

The competition finds new ideas and ways to solve challenges facing the construction sector. There are two award categories – undergraduate and open. The winners have been chosen from a shortlist announced in August.

Organisers said first place in the undergraduate category had been tied due to the high quality of entrants this year. One of the winners was a BIM-enabled automated platform that supports the supply chain to maximise the circularity level of buildings from the early design stages.

Teesside University student Subarna Sivashanmugam submitted the BIM platform idea. She said: “The main goal of the platform is to facilitate the supply chain to incorporate digital technologies like BIM into waste management, to measure, manage, monitor and report waste generation levels across project lifecycle stages.

“Winning this competition is a confidence booster for me and will help me to enhance my idea further. This is a kind of approval from the construction industry who are the end user of innovation.”

Interlocking concrete and cladding

Top place in this category went to an idea for interlocking concrete with cladding made from food waste. Jun Tung Lai entered ‘FWC+’ on behalf of a team of Malaysian students. He said he felt “overwhelmed”, particularly because his many had declined his idea previously.

Winner of the Open category was UK entrepreneur Isabelle Gough, founder of carbon calculator Cercula. This innovation adds carbon data to the design phase of construction planning.

Gough said: “Cercula is not your average carbon calculator. We’re experimenting with the latest technologies in data science and natural language processing to optimise the process of carbon capture for the construction industry.

“Winning the Grand Challenge is really validating for what we’re doing. It shows that we have meaningful technology. We’re deploying it in an area which is really needed and that there is real market acceptance for what we’re doing.” 

Wall-crawling robot

Runner up in the open category went to Jack Cornes, co-founder of UK firm HausBots. He has devised a wall-crawling robot for the inspection and maintenance of the built environment.

He said: “The HB1 provides our customers the opportunity to work at height with zero feet leaving the ground, three times more cost effectively, and typically three times faster in their inspection of maintenance projects.”

He added the competition has helped his team make “brilliant connections” and hopes it is a “launchpad” for the next stage of the business.

COINS CEO Robert Brown said: “Since its inception COINS Grand Challenge goes from strength to strength. Our aims are not only to search out new innovation but also to showcase to people of all ages how getting involved in the construction industry can provide an exciting and dynamic career choice.

“And at the same time address the issues that young people care about the most, such as climate change, sustainability, accessibility and more generally the quality of peoples’ lives.” 

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