UK strikes £420m ‘bytes and mortar’ deal for smart construction of new buildings
The UK government has announced a £420 million joint investment in ‘bytes and mortar’ to use digital technologies in ‘smart construction to develop new techniques for sustainable and rapid house building. The UK wants to deliver 1.5 million additional homes by 2022, alongside new workplaces, schools and other public buildings.
The ‘smart construction’ deal, between the public and private sectors, will transform construction through use of digital building design, new manufacturing technologies and offsite manufacturing helping, the government said. Buildings will be manufactured offsite and assembled on site, reducing build times by 50 per cent and making new sites more affordable and energy efficient.
Buildings account for 30 per cent of ‘greenhouse’ emissions; the ‘smart construction’ deal will help the UK’s mission to halve energy usage of new buildings by 2030.
In a statement, the government said the investment brings together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors to deliver “innovative approaches that improve productivity in construction and accelerate a shift to building safer, healthier and more affordable places to live and learn that use less energy.”
The ‘smart construction’ deal represents the biggest state investment in UK construction for a decade. Business and energy secretary Greg Clark commented: “The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy. We need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.”
The deal will create 25,000 construction apprenticeships and 1,000 graduate placements by 2020. The global infrastructure market will be worth $57 trillion by 2030, the government said. The UK’s department for international trade will seek to identify opportunities for overseas businesses to invest in the UK, it said.
Andrew Wolstenholme, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said: “Our industry builds the schools to educate the young, the hospitals to care for the sick, the police stations to keep us safe, the roads and railways to get us to work, the power stations to keep us warm and the homes we return to. We must be at the forefront of the UK’s drive for future growth and prosperity. This deal will help to achieve that.”