Research into innovative engineering and construction techniques must accelerate to make an impact, a major infrastructure boss has said.
Tideway asset management director Roger Bailey was responding to a question about whether his mega sewer tunnel project could adopt new materials, such as those developed through research programmes like the Materials for Life self-healing concrete project.
The project, presented at an NCE100 Technical Excellence breakfast club last week, is about to move into its next five-year research phase. A just completed three year programme has trialled three different types of self-healing concrete Heads of the Valleys highway scheme in Wales. Industrial partner is Costain, and its project manager Oliver Teall told the club that the next five-year phase was designed to take the learnings from the first trial and develop the product into a commercially-viable concept.
But Bailey said five years was too long and that researchers should source additional funding, if needed, to accelerate the programme and ensure the work captures the imagination of clients and specifiers.
“If it takes five years [to research and test] people can lose interest,” he said. ”You really need to do it in five months.”
Bailey is a champion of i3P, is an independent innovation community governed by representatives from major industry clients, consultants and contractors including Tideway. It follows on from the Crossrail’s Innovate18 programme and will provide a mechanism for funding research into innovative techniques.
He urged the Materials for Life team to press their case to the i3P team for funding.