The government has provided £18m in new funding for the research and development of digital technology to aid construction.
Four projects aiming to improve quality and speed up assembly share £5m from the Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund, via UK Research and Innovation.
The schemes include work into the use of 3D-printed concrete components and ways to organise teams of robots, on or off site.
A further £13.3m will fund 24 projects being carried out by Innovate UK in collaboration with universities and industry bodies – as well as firms including Balfour Beatty, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Vinci and Skanska.
They include research into augmented reality, automated BIM – in conjunction with conversational artificial intelligence – and an automatic generator of components to use with design-for-manufacture-and-assembley-with-advanced-engineering-techniques.
Work being carried out by contractors is being paid for half by themselves, and half through grant money.
The 24 schemes aim to address three core issues: the design of buildings through simulation, construction of buildings though offsite manufacturing, and the powering of buildings with their own electricity generation and storage.