win Innovate UK R&D grants

A project involving plant company JCB to develop “intelligent autonomous digital construction machines” is one of 10 collaborative projects that have won funding totalling £5.6m from Innovate UK’s “Digitising the Construction Sector” programme.

The project, which also involves Leica Geosystems and transport research organisation MIRA, has secured £832,000 towards a project looking at “a combination of automation, information technology and machine guidance”. 

Other beneficiaries are a project led by 4Projects called “Tier2Tier” to create a collaborative interface between main contractors and their supply chain specialists. Vinci construction, NG Bailey and Northumbria University are also involved.

Balfour Beatty, meanwhile, is leading a team that has won £1,138,000 to create a “virtual simulation platform” that will better allow contractors to interrogate their construction delivery processes in real-time to help to meet time and cost targets.

The team argues that existing BIM tools are not doing enough to tackle these deficiencies.

The other seven beneficiaries are:

  • Balfour Beatty is also involved in the project to develop the Bid4Free platform with innovative start-up 3D Repo.
  • A company called Keynetic is working with the British Geological Survey and Atkins to take BIM underground – by applying the BIM process to ground investigation and subsurface infrastructure design. Teams would be able to access a cloud-based library of historical survey data to allow 3D geological modelling.
  • Laing O’Rourke is leading a project – also involving Tony Gee & Partners and the University of Cambridge – to digitally enable to design, manufacture and assembly of bridges.
  • RIBA Enterprises is working with the Construction Products Association and BSI on “digital identifiers for construction products”, which could “enable new business models for the project partners and the wider construction industry”.
  • Skanska has secured £509,000 to work with BRE, Leaderflush Shapland and others on a project called “digital tag and track”, which allows real-time tracking of components and integration into BIM models.
  • Stickyworld and the National Self Build Association have won £330,000 for a project called Digitising Custom Build.
  • Welplan and the University of Northumbria have secured £166,000 for a project called Digital Engineering for Customised Compliance in Maintenance Regimes.

The Balfour Beatty-led team argues that existing BIM tools are not doing enough to tackle these deficiencies.

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