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Workshop-How can modern Technical Standards promote and encourage innovation?

On Monday 13th May 2019 the i3P workshop considered; How can modern Technical Standards promote and encourage innovation?

Meeting purpose:To bring together responsible technical leaders from I3P client organisations and key stakeholders to:

  1. Understandwhere respective clients are at with transforming the way they use standards to deliver better outcomes
  2. Understand the blockersfor innovation in technical standards and outline how and who can remove blockers to accelerate innovation success in our industry
  3. Work through a case studyaround cementitious material standards and understand how carbon achievements are being prohibited. Consider as an example of how we would achieve a lower carbon impact and develop a novel material that would address a current client infrastructure asset challenge (from the I3P materials development workshop) through a new standard construct that drives a better outcome.
  4. Develop a list of recommendationsfor I3P that clearly articulate how the technical community will unlock innovation through the better use of standards to drive innovation. (NB How digital standards will support standardisation, increase productivity and reduce carbon. What and how will standards be used in 2029? Provide timeframes of realistic expectations when we should be seeing standards deliver better outcomes to these challenges with a defined impact on industry.)


The full output from the workshop will be published in the near future but here are the presentations:









One Response to “Workshop-How can modern Technical Standards promote and encourage innovation?”

  1. Hi Mike, looks like a really great i3P workshop and fantastic to see support for continued materials R&D transferring from Crossrail to HS2 for example.
    For what it’s worth (I’m not a ‘standards’ person!), however having avidly followed the developments of low carbon or self healing concretes for more than 7 years, it’s clear to me that classic concrete in it’s current form (or the embodied carbon contained within) is still too ‘cheap’ to really drive transformational change in our industry. I’m a big fan of life cycle assessments (LCA) to consider the socio-economic ‘costs’ to mega infrastructure projects and with climate change becoming a more urgent challenge, I can see LCA becoming part of the ‘business case’ for future project delivery, hence higher performing or lower carbon alternatives might just get the catalyst they need to become mass produced thus commercially viable. Amazing composite materials for example have developed in other sectors in recent years and are often subject to more extremes in terms of real-world performance (I still hope Graphene reinforced concrete will come good for us before I retire – I have faith in Ioanna’s PhD)! I think one of the solutions is to stop looking at ‘standards’ or ‘codes’ as the minimum requirement; for me, we should focus on performance specifications and use all the digital tools we now have available to us to model structural performance over the asset lifecycle using a variety of different concrete mixes, self healing elements and ‘nu-world alternative materials’ to justify the ‘circular economic sweet spot’ in terms of fit for purpose, reliability, cost, carbon, recyclability etc. In BIM, it’s really simple with zero project risk to tweak the parameters and assess the outcomes from a design, engineering, commercial, construction and operations perspective. Yes we need lab R&D trials to validate desktop studies and scale manufacturing to facilitate production rates, but in my experience, major clients or engineering consultancies have little appetite for risk as they’re unlikely in the delivery stage to see the benefits of their ‘innovation investment’ in terms of ROI (which might not be realised for 50 years or more!). The supply chain (myself now included) will typically only deliver what we are asked too and any cost increases are frowned upon by clients if we propose higher performing or more sustainable alternatives to the design specifications! Only by early collaboration of all parties and using Digital Twins can we drive innovation in design and construction but I’m inspired by all the great work going on out there and hugely supportive of i3P’s leadership on this front. If Gammon can be of any help to concrete R&D, academic or otherwise, please let us know as we have a fantastically experienced and collaborative concrete design and manufacturing division serving HK 🙂

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