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Building of the Future – A Webinar on Future Construction. Hosted by Peter Sumpton (that’s me)

Updated: Jul 11, 2023


A futuristic looking building

The official title is;


Building of the Future: Construction’s mandate to keep up with societal needs in a changing world.


But I shortened it for ease and SEO purposes. Let’s crack on.


How do we ensure we keep up not only with what buildings of future construction will look like, but more so, how they will be required to be built, maintained, and used? You can find out by watching this webinar.


If you don’t have time to watch the webinar let me break it down for you from pre to post-evaluation.


Firstly, who are these amazing people I got the opportunity to chat with?



From left to right (top to bottom depending on screen size):


Eva Magnisali is the founder of DataForm Lab, a start-up aiming to disrupt and transform the AEC industry by accelerating the integration of automation in off-site construction. The company is making an impact through digital innovation, by de-mystifying industrial robotics and by developing design-to-fabrication digital workflows that enable all stakeholders to engage with advanced fabrication technologies. In parallel, through automation consultancy at a business level, DataForm Lab is a de-risking technology innovation and investment in automation in Construction. Previously, Eva worked as Head of Robotics at Bryden Wood, where she was responsible for creating and implementing the company’s Digital Manufacture and Robotics Strategy, and for developing a Framework for Robotics and Automated Construction (FRAC).


Gabriela Medero has always had a passion for maths and physics, with her roles at Heriot-Watt University as Professor of Geotechnical and Geo-Environmental Engineering and Kenoteq allowing her to express this passion. Gabriela’s company is positioned as a ‘clean tech company’ focusing on sustainability and the environmental impact of the construction industry, Kenoteq’s first product is an unfired brick with 90% recycled content from demolition and construction waste called, K-Briq – offering better insulation properties and can be manufactured using a tenth of the carbon emissions.


Trudi Sully is the Impact Lead for Mott MacDonald and has a specific focus on supporting the development and integration of DfMA and MMC approaches to improve efficiency, productivity and performance. Before taking her current role, Trudi was part of the Construction Innovation Hub. She worked closely with UK government departments on their journey to developing and meeting the ambitions of the Construction Playbook and Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap and supported industry partners in developing the tools and approaches needed to enable transformation in how our built environment is delivered. Trudi has over 20 years of experience in innovation management, strategic stakeholder engagement and transformational change programmes in public and private sector roles across a range of industries.


Synopsys


According to the Construction Skills Network (CSN) report published by the CITB in June 2022, over 50,000 additional workers will be required annually to meet the UK construction demand by 2026. Add to that the significant increase in the cost of materials, the continued skills shortage, legislation and environmental drivers to hit targets and deliver more, quicker, and for less, and it’s no surprise that the British construction space is feeling more pressure than it has been in a long time.


The current housing stock in the UK is some of the oldest in the modern world, much of which is built with materials that are difficult to recycle; current builds produce enormous levels of waste compounding the problem. Housing prices continue to escalate; in a consumer market where affordability was already a challenge, many were not even able to get into the housing market at all.


In this world of flux, innovation is a driver; we hear about Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) as an alternative, but it doesn’t appear to have influenced the industry at the same rapidity as first expected. And yet, our industry continues to be a source of innovation to cope with today’s challenges, while planning for tomorrow. Technologies such as BIM and CAD assist in designing and visualising projects before the first shovel has dug into the ground. Dependency on technology is becoming commonplace, uncovering inefficiencies through digital technology – having a dramatic effect on the drive for more artificial intelligence in decision-making, than ever before.


We stand at the precipice of change; change that requires us to take a different approach through the way we interact with the buildings we’ve constructed. And yet, how do we ensure we keep up with the evolution? How do we ensure we keep up not only with what buildings of the future will look like, but more so, how they will be required to be built, maintained, and used?


What you’ll discover in this session;


  • An overview of the state of the UK buildings today.

  • A view of continued challenges around today’s building methods.

  • An overview of the types of changes we’re seeing in the way we build.

  • Critical factors driving the changes in the way we build.

  • The steppingstones required by Construction to address and challenge; building for tomorrow.

  • The steppingstones required by Construction to address and challenge; building for tomorrow


Main takeaways


Here are my main takeaways from this amazing chat:

  • We need to embrace change and don’t be blind to the ‘always done it like that’ mentality

  • Collaboration – too many pockets of the industry are trying to solve industry wide-problems

  • To truly find solutions needs to be an entire industry approach

  • There isn’t a magic formula to solve or change the industry – It’s a cycle of change where one change will lead to another

  • To create buildings for the future we need products that are sustainable which means producing new innovative products, which in turn will need a new wave of skilled labourers to install them and new practices and policies to guide them

Too many sectors within construction are trying to solve industry-wide problems. It’s going to take a huge collective effort to fly this plane better. We need openness and collaboration to:

  • Reduce accidents.

  • Remove poor practices.

  • Improve best practices.

  • Share data for others to gain insight from and learn.

  • Push for better regulations led by the industry itself.

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