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Transforming construction

An overview of the government’s challenge to industry and research to transform construction to make buildings more affordable, efficient, safer and healthier.


Transforming construction

What is the transforming construction challenge?

The Construction Sector Deal sets out an ambitious partnership between industry and government that aims to transform the sector’s productivity through innovative technologies and a more highly skilled workforce. The Transforming Construction Challenge is an integral part of the sector deal, which has now passed the halfway point in its four-year programme.

The Sector Deal and Transforming Construction Challenge has brought together contractors, supply chain, innovators, government, clients and the research community to accelerate the change the sector was already embracing. It is rapidly overturning a culture, in which the priority was being given to the cheapest solution. Instead, we are all now moving together to deliver greater ‘whole life value’ to society. 

Targets from the outset of the Challenge were: buildings delivered 50% faster, costs reduced by 33%, emissions slashed by half and productivity raised by 15% to close the gap with the rest of the economy. What we are seeing is that project after project is demonstrating exactly this scale of improvements. As the new approaches and technologies are more widely adopted, the Challenge expects even bigger gains to be made. 

The approaches of all the projects invested in are based on the three central challenges of:  

  • moving to a manufacturing approach – from suppliers right through to site 
  • embracing digital technologies to provide assurance, efficiency of projects and performance feedback to design
  • shifting to selling outcomes and maximising ‘whole life value’ of assets.  

Over the coming years, the Challenge will be sharing the successes of the pioneering innovators it has supported to make the case for everyone to shift with confidence.

What is the investment?

We have invested £170 million, matched by £250 million from industry, to create new construction processes and techniques, such as the development of standardised modular components from which buildings can be manufactured.

What is the opportunity?

While the majority of funding has been allocated to UK businesses and researchers, key opportunities remain for all in learning from the ongoing projects that are fundamentally changing the way we are building – innovations that put value to the end user at the heart of construction.

These stories are housed on the Challenge’s digital story catalogue – find out more about the Challenge’s investments and innovations across the sector there.    

Construction Innovation Hub

We invested £72 million to establish a Construction Innovation Hub that will support collaboration in the construction sector.

The Hub is delivered by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) at the University of Cambridge.

Structured around the four core themes of Manufacturing, Digital, Assurance and Value, the Hub is working with government, academia, and industry to demonstrate how, when and why to adopt innovations to improve the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, and operated.

The Hub is developing and applying technology used successfully in other industries to construction. For example, using the same modular design platforms as the automotive industry and developing precision manufacturing processes to realise these designs. This will enable the delivery of better performing schools, hospitals, homes and economic infrastructure. It will also drive reductions in waste and energy consumption. The Hub will develop a better model for construction, one that facilitates innovation and continuous improvement and enables integration of the value chain. 

For more information, visit the Construction Innovation Hub.

Active Building Centre

A new Active Building Centre has been created from a £36 million investment by government and industry.

The centre’s mission is to deliver transformational change in the construction and energy sectors, revolutionising the way we heat and power our homes, schools and offices.

It will reframe the way the UK designs, constructs and operates buildings: through the integration of renewable energy generation and storage technologies for heat, power, transport, coupled with state-of-the-art intelligent energy management systems.

The centre is focussed on reducing the environmental impact and operational costs of the buildings, adding more capacity and resilience into the energy sector itself, and addressing key societal challenges around fuel poverty and wellbeing.

The Active Building design principle was developed by the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at Swansea University.

To keep up-to-date on the Active Building Centre’s activities or discuss specific opportunities to get involved, please visit activebuildingcentre.com.

Network Plus

The Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) mobilises a new movement in the construction community, bringing together experts from a range of disciplines to tackle the most pressing problems across the digital, energy, construction, and manufacturing space.

The vision for the N+ is to deliver transformational impact by adopting an integrated approach, situating construction as a production system for built assets that adds value to cities and their infrastructures.

The network unites academic researchers with industry and policy representatives through networking and skills-building events, creating a new community and body of knowledge to inform future construction policy and practice.  The N+ also provides funding for research projects aiming to address some of the biggest problems currently facing the construction industry. The research projects unite academics from different universities to synthesise and bring the best existing and new knowledge to the rest of the programme and maximise exposure across industry.

Latest news

See the latest announcements from the challenge

Blogs from the transforming construction challenge