Investment boost for better performing homes

The government has released details of an £18m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to boost investment in research and innovation surrounding the delivery of new buildings, including better performing homes, and infrastructure. 

The funding is coming from UK Research and Innovation and is designed to support artificial intelligence-led projects and collaborations that will improve productivity within the construction industry. The overall fund is £170 million from the government and is matched by £250 million from industry. The overall aims of the challenge are to develop digital design methods that will improve quality and environmental qualities of buildings.

So far, £13.3 million has been awarded to 24 projects including collaborations between researchers and industry that use AI and algorithms to plan and schedule construction projects. Off-site construction projects have also gained funding in an attempt to bring down costs and improve productivity. 

A further £5 million has been invested in research teams that will look into the potential for 3D printed concrete components and the use of robots in construction. Augmented reality and voice activated AI are also part of the research.

Construction minister Richard Harrington has stated that the use of AI and digital technologies and off-site building methods are testament to the government's industrial strategy aims and could lead to a better tomorrow for all.

Sam Stacey, director of the Transforming Construction Challenge, has said that the grants play a key role in advancing the sector and will allow construction industry leaders to work with researchers to speed up construction and save money as well as improving building quality.