News / UWE Bristol

UWE Bristol part of £16m project to drive innovation on major infrastructure

By ellie pipe, Friday Jul 31, 2020

A team of UWE Bristol researchers are developing technology set to revolutionise modern methods of construction and improve productivity.

The work is part of a major new national consortium that will see the university receive £1.2m to investigate four key areas that could help improve efficiency and quality within the construction industry.

This will cover artificial intelligence data mining, advanced logistics, conversational artificial intelligence and quality assurance.

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The Transport Infrastructure Efficient Strategy Lab (TIES Living Lab) has been set up by the government and aims to harness the vast quantities of intelligence that UK infrastructure projects generate in order to drive down delivery times, reduce carbon emissions and improve safety and skills for construction workers.

Over the next two years, the partnership will invest more than £16m in new tools, processes and data systems – bringing together industry leaders with business and academic institutions to build on, and establish, best practice in delivering major infrastructure projects.

The work is set to revolutionise methods of construction and drive efficiency – photo by Martin Booth

As part of the initiative, the team of UWE researchers, led by Professor Lamine Mahdjoubi, will develop a semi-automated system that can translate costings provided by various parties into a standardised format.

This will allow an improved understanding of costs and performance through benchmarking. The team is also developing a state-of-the-art advanced logistics system based on digital twin technology to revolutionise modern methods of construction and improve productivity.

Dr Mahdjoubi said: ‘‘With private and public money tighter than ever, now is the time to examine how efficiencies can be introduced to the infrastructure and construction sectors. We must find better ways of delivering high quality, cost-effective projects that also offer social value and are better for the environment.

‘‘For years, we have found it difficult to forecast the real cost and time to deliver an infrastructure project while clients have lacked the tools to accurately benchmark tenders and select projects which offer the best value.

‘‘Drawing upon a range of expertise from within UWE and utilising innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twin, my team and I look forward to being part of the TIES Living Lab project and developing tools and processes which can revolutionise how the infrastructure and construction sectors in the UK operate.’’

By identifying and tackling systemic issues that obstruct innovation in construction, it is hoped that this first-of-its-kind programme will be a catalyst for cultural change.

Main photo provided by UWE Bristol

Read more: £1.3m funding for Bristol firms driving innovation

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