Skanska has won new funding for a £1M research project to digitally track construction projects in order to help improve efficiency.
The two-year research programme will examine how different aspects of a construction project can be tracked throughout the project lifecycle. Researchers will try to find a standard and consistent format for tracking that can be used by all suppliers – they’ll start by using barcodes and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
The final aim is to see whether the tag and track system can improve the efficiency of a project, see how it is performing against its timeframe and highlight any potential delays,
Skanska managing director Terry Elphick said: “We are delighted to be involved in developing an understanding of how this technology will serve us better in the future.
“As a business we are committed to engaging with great innovative ideas, testing and trialling them to provide better information and increased reliability and efficiency in our project delivery.”
Innovate UK, a quango overseen by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is giving a grant of £500,000 towards the project. Skanska will receive just over £200,000 of this grant towards its project costs of approximately £400,000.
Skanska project leader Ian Brixey said: “We’re extremely pleased to receive this funding. The outcome of the project has the potential to have a big impact on the entire construction and maintenance processes used by the industry.
“By using the latest digital techniques, we intend to get to a stage where the marking of project components in the form RFID tags/barcodes facilitates real-time monitoring of the manufacturing process, delivery to site, storage and installation.
“Once in place, the tagged components will remain for the life-cycle of the project, providing accurate information to those that need it. This level of information allows progress on projects to be monitored against plans and timescales.
“The process will all be automated, so the tags will be linked with a programme schedule to ensure what’s needed is available and delivered when required, with any delays being identified by the system in advance.”
Skanska will work alongside BRE, Multiple Access Communications Limited (MAC Ltd) and Leaderflush Shapland to develop the research.
The work will later be piloted with supply chain partners on real projects.