Pioneering research into how to achieve greater on-site efficiencies for large complex construction and infrastructure projects

Innovative Research Project Wins Funding for Next Stage
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London, UK


Research, Digital Technologies



2 min read

BIM Academy partnered with BuildStream – an online platform of fully verified contractors who operate within design, construction, operation and maintenance within the Energy and Infrastructure sectors – to carry out pioneering research into how to achieve greater on-site efficiencies for large complex construction and infrastructure projects and improve the utilisation of site plant and equipment by 15%.

The first stage of the project began as a feasibility study in 2019. We explored how the utilisation of plant and equipment on construction sites could be improved. This involved live data from site plant and equipment and used machine learning to estimate productivity.

The next stage looked at Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven data and a real-time command and control centre for site plant and equipment in infrastructure projects. This advanced the research from the original feasibility study by utilising AI, IoT and BIM to create a bespoke 4D platform which will be used to identify where improvements can be made.  

The UK Government is looking to spend over £600bn on infrastructure over the next 10 years; the current systems need to be smarter to ensure better value for money and time in the future.

Issues surrounding site plant and equipment have been prevalent across the construction industry for a many years. One such issue is cost. Site plant and equipment can range between 10% and 50% of a project’s construction costs. Previous research has shown that utilisation rates of site plant and equipment are as low as 30%, with a crossover of equipment requirements between work packages causing three to five times more equipment duplication or redundancy. 

Other issues lie in the negative impact site plant and equipment has on the environment, with emissions being high. Action needs to be taken to address how this can be offset and lower the carbon footprint generated from construction sites.

BIM Academy’s new 4D platform will help combat these issues (and more), optimising site plant and equipment operation by producing more accurate and predictable schedules. This will enable projects to track equipment performance at any time and by using machine learning, automatically estimate site plant and equipment productivity. 

The full consortium on the research project has now grown and includes BIM Academy, BuildStream, Walters Group, HS2, Laing O’Rourke, Costain Group and Northumbria University.