Transforming Construction Network Plus webinar highlights emerging trends in business models
3 June 2019
International speakers deliver the first Transforming Construction Network Plus webinar: Rethinking the business model for offsite construction.
The first Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) webinar took place on Wednesday 29 May. Featuring Dr Daniel M. Hall and Dr Wei Pan and moderated by Professor Jennifer Whyte, the webinar explored how new business models for modern methods of construction are emerging throughout the world and how they are relevant to creating the ‘tipping point’ in the sector envisioned in the UK Transforming Construction Agenda.
From his research on construction firms in the USA, Dr Hall first introduced some of the emerging business models emerging from this region. He concluded with an overview of promising trends and technical opportunities which he has been working on in ETZ Zurich.
Dr Hall commented:
‘’ The ability to configure building using a kit of parts seems to be an emerging trend which helps us to move towards more flexibility while still keeping the same amount of productivity in the manufacturing process.’’
Dr Pan then discussed Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) and its specific applications within Hong Kong. He detailed the many significant benefits achievable from the adoption of MiC, and pointed out the importance of the supportive political and regulatory environments.
Dr Pan concluded:
“Industry in the traditional manner really struggles to address the many challenges faced in the mega cities nowadays such as the shortage of labour, the ageing workforce and high construction costs. The challenges do not just face Hong Kong but also many other cities like New York, London, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, etc. To adopt modular integrated construction is an effective strategy”.
This event was the first of four international webinars from the N+, which is part of the Transforming Construction Challenge. The N+ is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The N+ is uniting construction’s academic and industrial communities to create a new research and knowledge base, dedicated to addressing the systemic problems holding back the sector.
A recording of the webinar is available to watch online:
About our speakers
Dr Daniel M. Hall
Dr Daniel Hall is Assistant Professor of Innovative and Industrial Construction at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The overarching theme of his research is to enhance governance, productivity, and innovation in construction projects through a transformation from fragmented project delivery methods to new organisational models that integrate the supply chain of the vertically and horizontally fragmented construction industry. Dr Hall concludes that, to foster more innovation in products and processes, the AEC industry must embrace new governance strategies and organisational models.
Dr. Hall holds a Doctor of Philosophy (2017) in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) from Stanford University. He conducted his research within the Global Projects Center. His dissertation investigated the development and institutionalization of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in North America, and the associated impact of IPD on the adoption of systemic product and process innovations. While at Stanford, Dr. Hall was awarded the Charles H. Leavell Fellowship for Civil Engineering in addition to research funding for three projects from the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering.
Dr Wei Pan
Dr Wei Pan is Executive Director of Centre for Innovation in Construction and Infrastructure Development (CICID) and Associate Professor in Construction Engineering & Management at Department of Civil Engineering of The University of Hong Kong (HKU). Dr Pan is also Chairman of HKU Civil Engineering External Relations Committee and Teaching and Learning Quality Committee, and of Hong Kong CWRB Data Analysis Committee.
Dr Pan specialises in sustainable construction engineering and management. His research interests cover off-site prefabrication, modular integrated construction, construction automation and robotics, zero carbon building, building energy use and life cycle analysis. He has attracted over HK$65 million research funding from a wide range of bodies including Research Grants Council (RGC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Europe Social Fund (ESF), Central Policy Unit (CPU) of the HKSAR Government, Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government, Construction Industry Council (CIC), and Hong Kong Housing Authority.
Prof Jennifer Whyte
Prof Jennifer Whyte is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London. Her research is on systems integration, digital engineering and production systems linked to the construction and built environment sectors. She is Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation and is the Laing O’Rourke/Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Systems Integration. In the 20 years since her PhD at Loughborough University, Prof Jennifer Whyte has held many research grants, published high-impact research papers, authored a book, and led multidisciplinary research teams. She was Shimizu Visiting Professor at Stanford University in 2015.
Prof Jennifer Whyte is a member of the Transforming Construction Challenge Advisory Group and also a co-investigator on the Transforming Construction Network Plus. She also leads research on data-driven design in the Alan Turing Institute /Lloyds Register Foundation Data Centric Engineering Programme; and co-curates the World Economic Forum Engineering and Construction Transformation Map. She is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and a member of the EPSRC Engineering Strategic Advisory Team (SAT), and the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG). She was recently invited to join Construction Leadership Council, and was previously a member of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Industry Safety Steering Group.