Transforming Construction Challenge Q&A
Futurebuild has recently announced that the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Transforming Construction Challenge (TCC) partners will be joining forces as Lead Innovation Partner at the upcoming 2020 event.
Here we talk to three TCC partner organisations, to learn more about the initiative and what the partners will be doing at Futurebuild 2020.
Firstly, can you explain what the TCC is?
The TCC was borne out of UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is backed by the Construction Sector Deal.
It is working across industry, academia and government to make fundamental transformation in the construction sector a reality through the deployment of Active Buildings which integrate renewable energy technologies for heat, power and transport, and by developing, commercialising and promoting digital and manufacturing technologies.
There are a few partners involved in the initiative, can you tell us more about them and what their role is?
The three core partners of the TCC - the Construction Innovation Hub, the Active Building Centre and Transforming Construction Network Plus - were launched in 2018 with £170 million from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The TCC partners work closely with the sector to unleash and nurture its innovative potential by driving the uptake of digital and manufacturing technologies, building demonstrators which provide evidence, encouraging much closer collaboration with academia and sectors of the economy leading the technological and digital revolutions.
Each has a specific role and remit within the Challenge:
- The Construction Innovation Hub aims to be a catalyst for transforming UK construction through manufacturing technologies and digital ways of working that are trusted and secure
- The Active Building Centre is transforming the UK construction and energy sectors through the deployment of a pipeline of interconnected Active Buildings that integrate renewable energy technologies for heat, power and transport
- The Transforming Construction Network Plus contributes by bringing together academics and businesses across the UK to develop innovative and interdisciplinary research projects
Who is the TCC designed to support? And how are businesses benefiting?
From offsite manufacturing techniques to digital twins to Active Buildings, the sector has shown us tangible and exciting examples of its own transformative potential. Despite this, construction remains rooted in traditional methods and innovation prevail as the exception rather than the norm. The sector’s poor productivity and its struggle to attract the best and brightest has prevented construction from rapidly adapting to environmental and demographic challenges. Construction needs to see a radical shift; a shift in thinking.
The future is visible; energy-creating buildings, automation and platform development are shaping the buildings in which we live, learn and work. Government and academics are working with industry to embrace this challenge in this one life opportunity offered through the Transforming Construction Challenge.
Why have you decided to bring the TCC to audiences through Futurebuild specifically?
Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need for change – the construction industry needs to come together to thrive and deliver a fundamental shift in the way we build in the UK.
With a focus on innovation and a theme of ‘moving towards a zero-carbon world’, Futurebuild 2020 represents the time and place to drive that change forward. Futurebuild has earned its status as one of the ‘go-to’ events in the construction calendar, with some of the best and brightest innovators in the sector seeking opportunities to turn their innovative ideas into tomorrow’s solutions.
What can visitors expect in terms of what you will be doing and presenting at Futurebuild?
In joining forces as Lead Innovation Partner for this year’s Futurebuild, the Transforming Construction Partners, together with our funder UKRI and the Knowledge Transfer Network, will use the event as a platform to speak to the sector with one strong voice, encouraging companies to join us on the journey of change.
We will be hosting the event’s centrally located Innovation Lounge. The lounge will provide visitors with the opportunity to meet with experts across the three organisations, and find out how they can become involved.
In addition, leading experts from all three organisations including construction sector household names like Sam Stacey, Keith Waller, Dr Ahsan Khan and Professor Jacqueline Glass, will play a central role in panel discussions on both the Arena and Keynote Stages, offering their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities which we face in 2020 and the years ahead.
How can visitors get involved with what you will be doing? Why can they not afford to miss it?
With the right blend of innovation and leadership, UK construction can not only keep pace with other sectors, it could become an exemplar.
We can eliminate the productivity gap and turn construction into a magnet for the best and brightest apprentices and graduates with the latest skills. Buildings can be constructed 50% faster and 33% cheaper with half the lifetime carbon emissions. Drastically cutting down on waste and driving the uptake of renewable technologies, buildings can shift from being a contributor to climate change to being part of the solution.
But fundamental transformation must come from within the sector itself. Government, through the Transforming Construction Challenge, has taken unprecedented steps to lead and support construction on the journey. Through Transforming Construction Network Plus, we can bring together academics and businesses across the UK to develop innovative and interdisciplinary research projects. But to deliver transformation on the scale required, all construction businesses – large and small – need to embrace this journey.
At Futurebuild 2020, we will be asking organisations from across the sector to learn more and get involved.