Earlier this month saw the Construction Innovation Hub make its debut appearance at Futurebuild, the annual industry trade show which has rightly earned its place as one of the ‘go-to’ events in the construction calendar.

Having earned its place as a one-stop-shop for industry innovators, sustainable solutions and pioneering thought leadership, Futurebuild presented an unrivalled opportunity for the Hub to engage with businesses and innovators, large and small, from right across the sector and beyond.

Futurebuild2020 saw the Hub join forces for the first time with our Transforming Construction partners – the Active Building Centre and Transforming Construction Network Plus, as well as our funding provider UKRI. Billed as the show’s ‘Lead Innovation Partners’, the Transforming Construction partners collaborated on a shared centrepiece, our Innovation Lounge, which served as a kind of nerve centre for the show. Over the course of the three days, the Innovation Lounge played host to a huge variety of visitors from students to thought leaders to CEOs.

Given its large and diverse list of attendees, Futurebuild provided many crucial opportunities to showcase the Transforming Construction mission and interact with pioneering organisations and individuals from across the sector.

An adaptable networking area where experts from all three TCC programmes could meet with professionals from across the sector, our Innovation Lounge proved itself as the ‘place to be’ for industry engagement. Across the three-day event we hosted a lively programme of activities, meetings, briefings and talks highlighting the range of opportunities the TCC offers for UK-based researchers and businesses.

 

Not only did the Innovation Lounge create a thriving space for industry players to connect, collaborate and share ideas, it also provided a platform for our technical team to share insight into the latest Hub initiatives with a range of industry stakeholders. On Day 1 of Futurebuild, Dr. Isolda Agusti, Whole-Life Performance Lead for the Hub, took to the Innovation Lounge to present the latest advances of her workstream to local university students.

Speaking after her presentation, Dr. Agusti said: “It’s been great to meet with students from the University of Greenwich today and present an overview of our Procuring for Value project, which the Hub is delivering in partnership with the Construction Leadership Council. Events like Futurebuild are critical in inspiring our next generation of industry shapers, and I’m really pleased that the Innovation Lounge provided us a platform to network and share ideas with the best and brightest minds of tomorrow.”

 

The valuable networking opportunities continued throughout the event and a key highlight for the team was seeing our Innovation Lounge packed to the rafters Day 2 of Futurebuild, during the Drinks Reception we hosted to celebrate the results of the Big Innovation Pitch Live Final.

The Big Innovation Pitch, presented by Futurebuild and BRE, set about finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our industry across six categories: Buildings; Critical Infrastructure; Energy; Interiors; Offsite and Resourceful Material.

Wednesday afternoon saw the six shortlisted competitors pitch to a panel of judges, including Gillian Charlesworth, CEO – BRE, Keith Waller, Construction Innovation Hub Programme Director, and Sam Stacey, Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Director for Construction – UKRI. As the industry’s largest callout for innovation to date, the competition to culminated in Rype Office being crowned the winners. Rype Office, a Circular Economy office furniture company, responded to the challenge around sustainable and health promoting interiors.

 

The Transforming Construction Challenge partners were delighted to host a celebratory event following the live final, to congratulate the worthy winners and commend the ingenuity of all the Big Innovation Pitch’s talented contenders. Undoubtedly the highlight of the entire show, the packed-out reception provided a perfect opportunity for projects leads across the Hub programme to meet and engage with players right across the sector.

Congratulating the Big Innovation Pitch’s winning entry, Hub Programme Director Keith Waller: “I would like to extend my congratulations to Rype Office who showcased some extremely innovative solutions that champion sustainability via the Circular Economy. All of the contenders were worthy candidates and I am impressed by the cutting-edge talent that has emerged from all corners of the industry via the Big Innovation Pitch.

On behalf of the Hub, I would like to thank my colleagues from across the sector for joining us this evening to congratulate the winners. I am confident that the valuable conversations that are taking place here will have a meaningful impact on how we move forward in transforming construction together as an industry.”

Speaking after the evening reception, Martin Hurn, Futurebuild Event Director said: “The TCC partner organisations hosted a fantastic event in their Innovation Lounge. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most highly attended receptions we have had in the history of Futurebuild. The evening has proved to be an excellent networking opportunity for key UK construction industry influencers who have come together to share in the successes of our Big Innovation Pitch contenders.”

 

Another of the Hub’s key Futurebuild highlights was having an opportunity to announce the industry players who will take forward our flagship Platform Design Programme. Supported through every step of the programme by manufacturing, building performance and digital specialists from the three partners of the Hub – the MTC, BRE and CDBB, Platform participants will develop and refine their products, technologies or services which will then be installed and widely showcased on a proof-of-concept building, demonstrating how these solutions can be applied across a wide range of UK government projects for vital new buildings like schools, hospitals and prisons.

Day 3 of Futurebuild saw MTC Chief Engineer Mark Ireland, CDBB’s Dr. Adam Robinson, and Hub Value Impact Director Ron Lang announce the names of the construction firms which will take the lead in turning the Platform into a reality: Skanska, BAM, PCE, MID Group, Kier/VINCI Construction UK, Mace and Mott MacDonald.

Chief Engineer at the MTC, Mark Ireland said: “We are thrilled to welcome this team of experts into the Hub’s Platform programme. Alongside with the Hub, these organisations will be helping to drive forward our ambition to see new built projects like schools and hospitals constructed using the Platform approach in as little as ten years. The goal for us all is to improve productivity and performance for the sector, in turn creating better outcomes for the environment and society.”

 

Head of Research Programme at CDBB, Dr. Adam Robinson added: “The most exciting thing about the Platform programme is the truly collaborative approach we are taking here. We have over forty businesses drawn from a range of disciplines within our wider collaborative team, including many specialist SMEs. All will work alongside the Hub and the integrators, providing design, specialist consultancy services, sub-assembly, components and materials that will be showcased on the proof of concept building.”

The Hub’s Impact Director for Value, Ron Lang summarised: “The overarching aim of our Platform Development programme is to demonstrate that a manufacturing-led, kit-of-parts approach can deliver better outcomes for society, for the environment and for the economy. Working with our industry partners, we are building on government ambitions to drive innovation and build industrial capability and capacity across the UK. By doing so, not only can we deliver better assets, but we can create a more sustainable model for our industry.”  

Overall, Futurebuild proved to be a busy and successful event for the Construction Innovation Hub and a fantastic opportunity to be in step with some of the best and brightest innovators in the sector. Coming together with the Active Building Centre and Transforming Construction Network Plus presented a vital opportunity for our organisations to draw on the collective expertise and enthusiasm we share for creating positive shifts in the sector. By collaborating as closely a possible, we are confident that we can accelerate the pace of innovation and achieve our collective goal of transforming construction for the benefit of wider society.

All photos by © www.nickrphotography.com