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Vote for your top construction priorities

Industry priorities tag cloud


An online survey has been created to understand what industry believes are the major challenges for the UK’s construction industry in the coming decades.

The results will feed into a research roadmap being created by the National Platform for Construction to inform key funding bodies such as the Technology Strategy Board, European Commission and research councils. The National Platform's role is to identify the most significant challenges that will benefit from new knowledge and technologies to help UK construction achieve its future objectives.


The online survey is essentially ‘tag cloud’ of statements. Simply click the ones you think are most important.


As the secretariat for the National Platform, the Modern Built Environment KTN wants to know what you think are the priority challenges. 


Your vote will help shape the future research agenda.

Vote now



9 people have had something to say so far

What about the challenges that are not on the list?
Posted on 09/05/12 00:40.
Once you're logged in, you can add a challenge by clicking on "+add driver" button.
Posted on 09/05/12 11:27 in reply to Tony Smee.
Thanks Damien,

I followed your details to the National Refurbishmnet Centre and on to the Sheffield eco terrace house which was quite interesting. I was in the building trade in the 1970s when terraced houses got a 75% grant to put bathroom extensions onto the houses and demolish the old outside toilets, new window frames & doors, lead pipes replaced with plastic, damp proof injection and a few other things.
I consider that far sighted engineering with provision for the future is a major concern. In fact engineering & technology in general. The skill shortage is serious and the seriousness is only appreciated by older skilled trades. The "plumbers" who put in our central heating had no idea how it all worked, and no time to put floorboards back properly, no idea of flue gas checks or controls. So stimulating interest in STEM subjects is vital for an innovative building industry.

One thing the industry suffers from nowadays is the same as the TSB and the government, lots of discussion, lots of meetings, lots of complex regulations, approvals and procedures which few can follow, lots of managers and "consultants" frightening younger people away with all the red tape when in fact it's all straightforward. Up until the 1970s builders had the skills and the building inspectors trusted them but now you can't move without some regulation being broken.

If the modern materials and methods had been known in the 1970s then a large saving could have been made. If double glazing, proper draughtproofing, and provision of spare pipes & ducts for future services like solar heating and broadband cables had been included than a lot of money could have been saved.

I've been lobbying for a long time for ducts, pipes and channels to be included whenever a new service is installed, nowadays there should be insulated pipes from the boiler going outside to pick up on any future district heating. Any upgrading of electrical cables should not mean a garden excavation job but merely pulling out the old and pulling in the new inside a duct or pipe.
Posted on 10/05/12 23:23.
Hello Tony,

Thanks for your comments. They resonate with what many said at industry workshops organised by the National Refurbishment Centre. You might say another talking shop (!) but it proved very useful for the NRC, which has been gathering data from around 500 domestic refurbishment projects.

One of the problems identified by many is the lack of good information about what measures actually work best in what type of building. The Sheffield Eco Terrace is indeed one project that has helped bridge that gap in knowledge; others include TSB's REtrofit for the Future and BRE's Victorian Terrace projects. And then of course the TSB has also recently launched its Invest in Innovative refurb competition for non-domestic buildngs. The NRC's hope is that evidence from a large data set could used to help industry find ways to refurbish on a large scale.

Another big issue, as you rightly point, out is the skills shortage. Clearly that has to be a priority, not just from a quality, 'doing the job right' point of view, but also for consumer confidence. I don't know if you're aware but a new college, the Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE) has recently opned its doors in Stoke. There's also Barnsley College's 'Think Low Carbon Centre', which is dedicated to training SMEs in new green technologies. So things are happening.

Anyway, I fear we're digressing from the original post a little now so I'll just say if it's not in the survey already, I might just have to add retrofit to the list of priority challenges - not that I'm trying to rig votes or anything!

Best wishes

Posted on 11/05/12 12:53 in reply to Tony Smee.
Hi Damien - as the items have very differnet sizes does that mean you are using a sort of "auto-wordle"? What it does mean is that I can no longer read some of the items and does it alos mean thta votes to date are influencing the future?
Posted on 14/05/12 07:26 in reply to Damien Carr.
Hi Elizabeth,
I'll have to check back with the developers but yes I imagine that as with other tag clouds, different sizes relate the prominence/ popularity of the key words - in this case the number of votes cast for each of the issues. However, when you first login all the tags should appear the same size so as not to influence voting. I hope this helps.
Posted on 14/05/12 09:47 in reply to Elizabeth Ness.
Hi Tony
Just picking up on your district heating theme I see The Engineer has an article 'Excess heat from steel plants could be used to heat Sheffield' (www.theengineer.co.uk/sectors/energy-and-environment/news/excess-heat-from-stee­l-plants-could-be-used-to-heat-sheffield/1012592.article#ixzz1v1qGwz9u).
It seems engineers from the Sheffield University Waste Incineration Centre (from EPSRC funding) believe that excess heat from steel plants could be used to heat Sheffield, significantly reducing the city’s CO2 emissions and that the many steel plants located just outside the city centre could be connected to Sheffield’s existing district heating network to provide an extra 20MW of thermal energy. I did not appreciate that Sheffield already has the largest district heating system in the UK, powered through an energy recovery facility that burns the city’s non-recyclable waste. Further in the article it notes district heating systems are currently rare in the UK although widely used throughout the rest of the world, Finland was highlighted as an example.
I thought you might be interested.
Posted on 16/05/12 12:01 in reply to Tony Smee.
Hi Richard,
Thanks I am more than interested, it's not only Finland showing us the way, Denmark, Sweden are also big in the district heating field. Strangely the Brits were there years ago with Battersea power station but no one thought to develop it.
The Scottish Government has commissioned a consultant's report on where it could be implemented in Scotland, a rather one sided and negative 175 pages for Fergus Ewing who has never seen an insulated pipe or a pump. They have highlighted several ares where it would be feasible, even when they priced trenching and backfilling at £3000 per metre and £2500 for a new boiler at each house, when I price heat exchangers at £200 and I've been pulling cables in trenches all my life.

I've been aware of this for most of my working life but there is no real interest in real innovation in the UK as we see from the sad cases in the TSB case studies. There are no experienced practical engineers in the government or the TSB so they don't appear to have any knowledge of the real world outside.

I'm about to blog at the Telegraph on the apples research , the windmill for the MOD, and the development of LED lamps at £20 each which are already available from China at £10 each, a scandalous waste of taxpayers money.
I'll send details if it's of interest tonysmee@hotmail.com
Posted on 16/05/12 19:39.
I've been trying for many years to persuade this industry to adopt a modified version of the so called drying rooms they provide on site that will enable it to meet the demands of the 1992 Health and Welfare at Work Act and doing so make it possible for there employees to travel to and from work i the knowledge that all the items they are obliged to ware or carry on site will be there, dried and ready for immediate use which is what is required to comply with this act.
The consequences of ignoring this legislation are many and far reaching and put a colossal burden on the health and social services because so many people have to leave the industry or in some cases stop work all together due to ill health. by doing what I'm suggesting we could meet all these needs and it wouldn't cost the country or the tax payer a penny.
During the years I lived and worked in London I like thousands of others was obliged to travel to and from work on public transport in dirty and frequently wet clothes, which is unpleasant for the rest of the traviling public and dose nothing for the tourist industry or the transport operators.
Posted on 09/06/12 11:49.

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