Home » UK Construction Week: Who to see at the Digital Construction Hub

UK Construction Week: Who to see at the Digital Construction Hub

by Tim Clark

From the future prospects of artificial intelligence (AI) to 3D printing, how to decarbonise concrete to the strive for net-zero, the UK construction sector will meet next week at the London’s Excel to discover and digest the latest trends in the industry.

With a plethora of ministers such as Nusrat Ghani, celebrities in the shape of George Clarke, and industry top brass such as HS2’s chief executive Mark Thurston and Atkins CEO Richard Robinson, there will be no shortage of dignitaries with which to rub shoulders at May’s UK Construction Week.

As host of the Digital Construction Hub stage for the entirety of the three-day construction extravaganza, Build in Digital will be picking the minds of some of the leading lights of digital construction to gain insight into what the coming 12 months and beyond will bring the sector.

Here, we highlight some of the speakers and topics we are most looking forward to hearing about at the Digital Construction Hub.

Mega projects, mega insights

When it comes to megaprojects, VisiLean’s James Ellis will walk delegates through the firm’s role in Heathrow’s expansion on behalf of Mace in the early session at 10:15am on Tuesday.

The hub also takes a look at one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects such as the Transpennine Route Upgrade. Bam Nuttall’s Shervin Yousefzadeh, digital construction manager for the upgrade, will take to the stage at 2:45pm on Tuesday to run through how digital transformation is improving collaboration, data management, and project outcomes in the rail construction industry on the £2.5bn project. 

Getting up to speed with 5G

Will 5G transform construction? In an age where remote monitoring and assessing has become accepted practice the role of 5G is emerging as an important factor in the digital transformation of the industry.

At 11:35am on Tuesday, a panel of distinguished professionals will discuss how construction requires reliable, secure, and high-performing voice and data wireless network connectivity and for the people, plant, equipment, and materials across construction sites to be effectively connected.

Unpacking the Building Safety Act

Though it was passed into law last year, the Building Safety Act is still being adopted by the industry, with a whole raft of changes to regulations and responsibilities for developers and contractors alike.

On Wednesday morning, the Digital Hub hosts David Shepherd, product manager for the Houses of Parliament restoration programme; and John Ryan, CEO of SymTerra, who will look at how the industry delivers on the new regulations and how the new law will ensure that steps to deal with building safety risks are implemented through the lifecycle of a building. The session begins at 10:15am on Wednesday.

Shedding some light on the digital aspects of the act, Bola Abisogun, digital director of DiverCity Surveyors, takes a grassroots look at how the sector can transform via digital twins. Considered by many to be a leading industry disruptor, Abisogun is a longstanding member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and an eminent fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). He takes to the stage at 10:50am on Tuesday.

Last but not least, the Digital Construction Hub examines the golden thread and the impact it will have on the industry, with Robert Norton and Laurence Gaughan.

As UK director of PlanRadar, Norton has over 12 years’ experience in the construction industry; while Gaughan worked in the fire protection industry in Australia before joining Global HSE Solutions. The duo will outline the benefits in structural and fire safety of the golden thread within the act and what the digital transformation means for building owners at 12:40pm on Wednesday.

Tell me more about digital twins!

If you insist. Following hot on Abisogun’s heels is Henry Fenby-Taylor, head of information management for the Centre for Digital Built Britain. His session at 1:40pm on Tuesday will delve into whether the innovation is a match made in heaven for designers and contractors alike. 

Fenby-Taylor has a wealth of experience in the realm of BIM, having acted as group implementation manager at WYG, responsible for critical projects as well as leading programmes for large clients. He is currently a digital consultant for projects as diverse as nuclear to water.

We’re here for the BIM… and the robotics

BIM has established itself as a mainstay of modern construction in the past decade. Nevertheless, a refresher can always help. To aid with this, the British Standards Institute’s built environment standards lead, Dan Rossiter, takes to the stage at 3:35pm on Tuesday to outline the BIM mandate and the changing government policy on BIM framework standards and guidance.

The next steps for industry include the world of robotics. Eva Magnisali, founder of DataForm labs, talks through the fear of automation, which is arguably holding the construction industry back. Is investment in robotics risky? Eva helps demystify how robotics could revolutionise construction at 12:05pm on Thursday.

Zoning in on net-zero

Although it encompasses a multitude of disciplines, the net-zero agenda has a looming importance for the construction sector. The Digital Hub welcomes sustainability associate for Watermans Anastasia Stella to the stage at 11:50am on Wednesday to discuss how materials passports can help lower the carbon footprint of construction. 

The architectural engineer will outline how Waterman is using the passports to help boost the circular economy and provide a concise, scalable framework to record and store key material details, enabling their future re-use.

Alongside Anastasia, Laura Pineiro from Oris Material’s Intelligence, takes to the stage at 2:40pm on Thursday to outline how construction can deliver sustainable, responsible, and resilient infrastructure and how to identify alternative designs using the digital platform.

Setting the standard

No Digital Construction Hub would be complete without at least one new standard to discuss. Morgan Sindall, the BSI, and VolkerWessels team up to discuss the new BS 9901:2022 digital quality management system, which aims to tackle areas of concern in multi-organisational, project-based working.

The BSI’s Rahul Shah will draw on his 23 years of experience in the sector at 3pm on Wednesday to guide us through how the new standard will impact the sector moving forward.

UK Construction Week will be held at London’s Excel from 2-4 May, and at the NEC in Birmingham from 3-5 October.

For full information visit ukconstructionweek.com.

Image: Buildots at UKCW 2022

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