Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: Transforming construction

The transforming construction challenge was funded under the UKRI Challenge Fund to accelerate the shift in construction in the UK towards manufacturing and digital processes.

£170 million, matched by £250 million from industry
2018 to 2023
Partners involved:
Innovate UK, ESRC, EPSRC, Construction Leadership Council

The scope and what we're doing

The transforming construction challenge is an integral part of the Construction Sector Deal and brings together contractors, supply chain, innovators, government, clients and the research community.

The challenge targets included:

  • projects delivered 50% faster
  • whole life costs reduced by 33%
  • lifetime emissions slashed by half
  • productivity raised by 15%

The investments are based on three central challenges:

  • 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 (what a building does rather than what it is) and maximising whole-life value of assets

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an auto-generated transcript is available on YouTube.

Why we're doing it

The aim of the transforming construction challenge was to accelerate the modernisation of construction in the UK, by shifting the priority away from lowest cost towards whole-life value of our built assets. The construction sector was resource-intensive and had a productivity gap with the rest of the economy.

Our investment is rapidly overturning a system that wasn’t working well for anyone, in which the priority was being given to the cheapest solution. Instead, we are all now working together to deliver greater ‘whole-life value’ to society.

Across our investments the projects are achieving the challenge targets. As the new approaches and technologies are more widely adopted, we expect even bigger gains to be made.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

The transforming construction challenge brochure details all of our investments and their progress at the end of 2021. This includes:

  • collaborative research and development
  • demonstrators
  • academic research

Read the story behind each investment in our searchable catalogue.

Construction Innovation Hub

We invested £72 million to establish a Construction Innovation Hub that supports collaboration in the construction sector, and develops the system needed to realise the government ambition to procure more modern methods of construction.

The hub was delivered by the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the Building Research Establishment and the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge. The hub is now part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Active Building Centre

The Active Building Centre was a £36 million UKRI investment, consisting of:

  • Active Building Centre Ltd., a research and technology organisation that convenes industry, academia and government to deploy active buildings at scale
  • the Active Building Centre Research Partnership, led by the University of Swansea, which mobilises technical and academic experts from 10 academic institutions to develop capabilities and technical know-how to support scale-up and mass deployment of active buildings

The Active Building Centre is now a part of the Energy Systems Catapult.

Transforming Construction 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.

In February 2022 an independent report on the impact of the transforming construction challenge was published. This evaluation by Frontier Economics details evidence collected on the challenge performance against its original objectives.

See some examples of projects funded under this challenge (UK Government Web Archive):

Who to contact

Ask a question about this area of investment

Deputy Challenge Director Mike Pitts


Last updated: 2 May 2023

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