Advanced Manufacturing > Construction
Innovative solutions to design, build, maintain, adapt and ultimately recycle buildings are essential for the survival of the construction sector in the 21st Century.
We need to adopt lessons from manufacturing and make construction more cost effective, with a lower carbon footprint.
Professor Alistair Gibb
Construction, like other engineering sectors, is undertaken by a range of professional disciplines. However, it is unique in its project-based environment involving the creation of transient multi-disciplinary teams to deliver unique products for each client.
This presents discontinuities in both the processes and product, and undermines both the quality of the final product and efficiency of delivery. The last three major UK government reports into the efficiency of the construction industry have fixed attention on the importance of new ways of working and improving the way in which project teams are assembled and operate. The recent report by Constructing Excellence shows that even after ten years of initiatives and some improvements, much remains to be done.
Current research projects are providing innovative new construction products and processes.
- One such project is the development and use of offsite solutions – moving work from the construction site into the factory. As a founder member of the industry-driven Buildoffsite initiative, the team maintains its strong application focus for the technologies themselves as well as their implications for the construction sector, such as new and emerging skill requirements, health and safety implications, and tools for improving the delivery process.
- The IMCRC’s research into the use of Additive Manufacturing techniques is not just limited to the traditional manufacturing industries. The Freeform Construction project is investigating how these techniques may be applied to construction by developing a new patentable ‘additive’ process capable of ‘printing’ full scale building components.
- The Adaptable Futures project recognises that high value building assets need to be designed and constructed for adaptability over the lifetime of the product. The research team has developed protocols to support new technical and management processes together with underlying human resource solutions, to promote the cultural change necessary for their adaption.
Future Research Directions
The Construction Group are leading the way in exploring step change solutions to complex design challenges and the delivery of new products.
This includes developing enhanced teambuilding through modelling and visualisation technologies and embracing the process change, which will place Loughborough at the forefront of research into innovation in construction procurement and economics.
Want to know more? Contact us
Research Group Leader: Professor Alistair Gibb
Tel: +44 (0) 1509 223097
Department of Civil and Building Engineering