Following a nationwide competition, Innovate UK has awarded £72 million to the Transforming Construction Alliance to deliver a national Core Innovation Hub, which is a key element of the Transforming Construction programme.
The alliance brings together the specialist expertise of the MTC, BRE (Building Research Establishment), and the CDBB (University of Cambridge Centre for Digital Built Britain. The award was announced by BEIS minister Richard Harrington MP.
The Core Innovation Hub will be the catalyst to transform the way buildings are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within the built environment to create high-performing buildings and infrastructure with strong levels of safety, quality and energy performance. It will also support collaboration to develop and commercialise digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector.
Keith Waller has been appointed programme director to lead the Transforming Construction Alliance. A civil engineer by profession, he led the development of the recent Transforming Infrastructure Performance report. He has worked across Government and industry to drive innovation and improve outcomes in support of Industrial Strategy ambitions.
"I am delighted to be leading the Transforming Construction Alliance in its mission to boost productivity and performance in the sector. I look forward to working alongside Government, industry and the talented teams at the MTC, BRE and CDBB to realise the vision of a transformed construction sector."
Neil Rawlinson, strategic development director at the Manufacturing Technology Centre said the MTC had an established and well proven track record in supporting manufacturing cross a range of sectors.
"There is huge potential for transformation of large parts of the construction sector to a manufacturing industry. The widespread appetite for change throughout the industry and the impact that this change will have on so many aspects of life in the UK make us enormously excited to be delivering this pivotal role. The MTC brings several key capabilities to the hub, such as design and simulation, and process and manufacturing systems development, including automation and visualisation. The complementary skills of the alliance partners will ensure we deliver for industry and Government."
BRE director Martin Ganley said:
"BRE is one of the world's leading independent knowledge centres in construction testing and performance standards for the built environment. BRE will provide expertise in the testing and validation of new products, processes, data and assets, and will support the move to digitising construction. It will also provide a leading role in industry engagement and the deployment of demonstrators at the BRE site in Watford."
Professor Andy Neely, pro-vice-chancellor: enterprise and business relations at the University of Cambridge and director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain, said, with Government and industry poised for change, the funding of the alliance is timely.
"The alliance brings together three trusted organisations with strong research, development and engagement programmes to deliver the evidence base and value case for change, alongside those who will benefit most from it. CDBB will collaborate widely to deliver a digital programme that will create the framework to underpin the future built environment and grow export opportunities for the UK."
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will strengthen research and innovation in science and business in the UK. Its Transforming Construction programme aims to support £600 billion worth of infrastructure and construction projects over the next decade, creating new processes and techniques including standardisation of modular components for manufacture.
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.