Canadian Contractor

By University of Cambridge's Engineering Department   

Laing O’Rourke Centre Review 2020-2023: leading the way for the construction industry of the future

Canadian Contractor Laing O'Rourke Centre University of Cambridge upskilling

Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology

2020-2023 Review. Image courtesy of Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology.

The University of Cambridge’s engineering department and The Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology have launched the 2020-2023 Review, which aims to generate the evidence and tools required to challenge the status quo and pave the way for a new era in the construction industry.

Promoting a constructive engagement between academia, industry and policymakers, the Centre is catalyzing change and has a measurable impact on the industry through educating and upskilling current and future construction leaders, undertaking applied research in close partnership with stakeholders, and generating evidence base and thought leadership to underpin and support the implementation of new policies, processes and methods in the construction sector.

The Centre’s research strategy is centred around three desired outcomes: one, sustainable infrastructure, including net zero carbon and biodiversity; two, improving productivity; and three, increasing the social value delivered by construction projects in the built environment. These outcomes will be enabled by the greater adoption of digital engineering, modern methods of construction (MMC), a focus on whole-life performance, new procurement models, and workforce upskilling.

“We are committed to shaping the future of construction through research, education and thought leadership,” said Professor Campbell Middleton, director of the Laing O’Rourke Centre. “We start by sharing a vision of what a construction project might look like in 2030.”

Over the last three years, the Centre’s work has focused on some new strands of exciting research that have attracted much attention and support, which are detailed in this review.

One example is a new focus on productivity, which demonstrates the importance of having an evidence base to determine what is happening on-site and how productivity improvements can be made. The Centre has worked with several companies that are now part of the data gathering and analysis activities required to generate performance metrics for the industry. The findings so far offer valuable insights to planners and project managers, empowering them to make informed interventions and drive improvements in on-site productivity.

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