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Small projects

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The first round of funding calls for Small Projects awarded 4 projects: 

Challenging Space Frontiers in Hospitals

Challenging Space Frontiers in Hospitals is delivered by UCL and Loughborough and Cranfield Universities in collaboration with healthcare policy makers, innovative hospital service providers and users, advanced modern hospital designers, engineers and asset managers.

Never has it been more important to explore the capabilities, business models and incentives for accelerated pathways to offsite building manufacture and delivery in hospitals. This project aims to develop capabilities to increase the productivity, scalability and faster delivery of hospital theatre projects. Existing innovative manufactured, volumetric, component and traditional solutions will be challenged by comparison with spacecraft system manufacture to advance understanding of fast-moving technologies, airtight assembly, logistics, innovation and integration. The research will:

  • Investigate twelve advanced theatre projects to understand the sectors existing capability and supply network involvement. 
  • Undertake six in depth case study projects to understand the diversity of innovation and integration capabilities (e.g. ways to procure advanced design for manufacture, digitally-enabled integration and evaluate innovative models of procurement).
  • Run a scenario planning workshop to advance understanding of the opportunities for scaling modern hospital manufacturing. This data will be recorded and provided to the wider sector at large. 
  • A new approach will be packaged for use by the collaborators and national open-source resources (including key principles, process and tools) will be made available to scale the impacts within the wider construction sector.

Principal Investigator: Dr Grant Mills, UCL

Co-Investigator: Dr Chris Goodier, Loughborough University - Dr Jennifer Kingston, Cranfield University 


Developing consistent benchmarks to drive improved performance in construction projects

Developing consistent benchmarks to drive improved performance in construction projects is managed by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with the Department of Transport and Whole Life Consultants Ltd.  

Both the Government’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme and the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) have a focus on benchmarking research and development as a key tool to drive increased productivity in construction projects, reduce the cost of construction and whole-life cost of built assets, reduce carbon impacts and enable faster delivery and greater certainty of construction projects. This project will undertake a comparative review of the measures of performance currently in use by clients and contractors engaged initially in the construction of infrastructure projects including utilities, road, and rail projects at strategic, operational and tactical levels. These measures might include initial cost, whole life cost, productivity, duration, quality, carbon impact and reliability. The project will explore the similarities and differences between the metrics currently in use and assess the extent of the opportunity and potential benefits delivered from producing a set of common indicators that are acceptable across all major infrastructure construction, and the efficacy of existing data collection structures to allow comparable metrics to be consistently produced. Finally, it will pilot the use of common metrics to measure the performance in the demonstrator programmes being designed by TIES.

Principal Investigator: Dr Moray Newlands, University of Dundee

Co-Investigator: Prof Rod Jones, University of Dundee - Dr Peter Browne, Department of Transport - Prof Malcolm Horner, Whole Life Consutlants Ltd. 


Digital Enablers for Construction Transformation (DECONT)

Digital Enablers for Construction Transformation (DECONT) is delivered by Loughborough University in collaboration with Rinicom Ltd., System Loco Ltd., Innovare Systems Ltd. and Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Solutions.

Imagine the future of construction where the connections between components of a building fit seamlessly like that of a car seat belt (clunk/click) or Lego blocks. Imagine every component having a unique digital identity (tagged with smart sensor), enabling it to be tracked wherever it is in the construction process from factory to storage, to final installation in the building, with through-life information being captured. Imagine wireless sensor networks allowing components to communicate with workers, roving as-built BIM compliance data capture robots, and cloud-based BIM models, enabling real-time simulations of the build process. Imagine automatic digital data collection, enabling real-time visibility/traceability of all stages of construction activity. Imagine building owners monitoring daily progress of the construction via a visual 3D model on their laptop or mobile wherever they are. DECONT aims to identify the opportunities for such transformation and then channel these into future scenarios and a technology roadmap for practical applications, which are driven by a hype-free clear vision of the future. Future scenarios will show inter-relationships between cutting edge digital technologies and construction business models. DECONT establishes a vehicle to stimulate the imagination of participants, to share and test these ideas with others, and to collectively turn them into realistic propositions for transforming the nature and culture of construction.

Principal Investigator: Dr Robby Soetanto, Loughborough University

Co-Investigator: Dr Chris Goodier, Loughborough University - Prof Garik Markarian, Rinicom Ltd. - Dr Souroush Honary. System Loco Ltd. - Peter Blunt, Innovare Systems Ltd. - Fatima Ishoune, Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Solutions.


Putting people at the heart of future social housing design and manufacture

Putting people at the heart of future social housing design and manufacture is managed by Teesside University, in collaboration with Energy Systems Catapult.

By systematically integrating user experience (UX) of home use and energy systems with design parameters, the project addresses user needs and requirements, and puts people at the heart of future social housing design and manufacture. UX is identified in relation to design parameters and energy systems from the perspectives of existing literature, social housing providers and occupants.  These parameters are then consolidated in a practical home design matrix in which people are at the heart of the design process. Finally the design matrix is validated in house design exercises. The project supports the Transforming Construction Challenge’s objectives by reducing home energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by incorporating UX in the design process; optimising through-life home performance by understanding how users interact with digitally-enabled smart energy system; improving productivity, quality and safety with increased use of UX-informed manufacturing; encouraging new house building projects to use ‘design for manufacturing and assembly approaches and active energy technologies by introducing UX as part of the design process; increasing the productivity of house building in terms of effectiveness of the design by addressing UX; improving the whole-life value and safety of built assets by enhancing UX and thereby user performance, including carbon intensity reduction.

Principal Investigator: Prof Nashwan Dawood, Teesside University

Co-Investigator: Prof Paul van Schaik, Teesside University - Dr Sergio Rodriguez, Teesside University - Dr Huda Dawood, Teesside University - Gabriele Faulhaber, Energy Systems Catapult - Dr Anthony Woolcock, Energy Systems Catapult.


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