Research and development (R&D) spending by the construction industry has risen by 30.3% in the last two years, according to new figures.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show total construction sector spending on R&D rose to £417m last year, an increase of £43m from the £374m recorded a year earlier.
Sam Stacey, director of the Transforming Construction Challenge at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) believes the Construction Sector Deal signed two years ago has given companies the confidence to invest in innovation that will produce better value for money and higher quality.
Mr Stacey believes these figures indicate the industry has embraced the value of R&D and will exceed the £250m spend it pledged to match government’s £170m investment through the Transforming Construction programme.
As part of the sector deal, the government committed to investing up to £170 million through the Transforming Construction Programme, to develop and commercialise the digital and offsite manufacturing technologies to produce safe, energy efficient buildings that perform better throughout their life cycle.
The programme has already started seeing the projects it has funded to achieve ambitious but realistic targets: buildings are being constructed 50% faster, 33% cheaper and with 50% lower lifetime carbon emissions.
‘The rise in research and development in the construction industry over the past two years is testament to the aims of the Transforming Construction challenge in giving companies the confidence to invest in digital building design, new technologies and offsite manufacturing, that will ultimately deliver quality, energy-efficient homes while providing value for money,’ said Mr Stacey.
‘The UKRI’s Transforming Construction Challenge sets out a framework of improvement based on common specifications, building components, digital standards, plus an optimised set of active building technologies to eliminate carbon emissions. This has resulted in innovators thriving by drawing on their expertise in manufacturing techniques, artificial intelligence and sensor-based controls. The pandemic has presented a unique set of challenges for the construction industry, but evidence suggests there has been no loss of momentum. Companies have found their use of novel digital and offsite techniques have made them more resilient in the face of any Covid restrictions.’
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