These eight firms all demonstrated the sort of forward-thinking approaches that produce impressive growth and drive the industry forward.
Aggregate Industries UK – Non-tipping trucks
Introduced in 2013, Aggregate Industries’ non-tipping trucks were designed to overcome the logistical issues faced when laying asphalt along lengthy construction sites and closed environments, such as tunnels and other built-up areas.
The ‘walking floor’ system in the trucks has been in use for some time in other industries, but Aggregate modified the NTTs for use in construction, identifying a gap in the market.
Safety risks are lowered due to non-tipping delivery and reduced vehicle movements, also reducing carbon footprints and improving lead times.
CATSURVEYS Group – Mobile Ground Penetrating Radar (MGPR) synchronised with corrected GPS (Global Positioning System)
CATSURVEYS Group purchased one of the first mobile ground penetrating radar systems in the UK in early 2013, but it did not support GPS recording apparatus.
The firm’s R&D team worked in conjunction with GPS manufacturers to create an accurate positioning solution that would allow for mass data collection, making the MGPR truly mobile.
The system is capable of recording up to 50 linear kilometres per day, increasing production by 10,000 per cent when compared with traditional push GPR methods.
It has been used to map underground utilities and infrastructure at the Dartford Crossing.
Costain - The Costain Way
Launched in December 2013, The Costain Way is a new approach to accessing organisational management systems.
Replacing the traditional ‘intranet folders’ approach, The Costain Way interface is available in two formats: a web-based application or a table app specially designed to hold information offline when no wi-fi signal is available.
In addition to the new software, the number of corporate policies was reduced from more than 300 to just 23, with lengthy and hard-to-access mandatory requirements and guidance separated and rebranded.
User feedback has been positive, with ease of use and understanding increasing significantly.
J Murphy & Sons – Murphy Innovation Model
The Murphy Innovation Model is designed to harness the breadth and depth of internal knowledge within the company to deliver on clients’ needs and build projects more safely, more quickly, to a higher quality and at a lower cost.
The model consists of Murphy Bright Ideas, Innovation Edge and the Murphy Supply Chain Innovation Awards – three initiatives that foster innovation within the company and have produced ground-breaking initiatives including its duct-laying trailer, fibre optic monitoring technology and the Föckersperger Spider Plough.
London Underground – Concrete bursting
London Underground’s Track Delivery Unit has undertaken reconditioning work across the deep tube network.
This has required large areas of concrete track base to be broken out, replaced with new track form, aligned and set in fresh concrete.
This occurs at 35 to 45 sites each night and involves manually breaking the concrete out using four heavy electric concrete breakers.
The new concrete bursting method entails drilling a 48 mm-diameter core hole to a preset depth, into which the burster unit is installed.
The burster’s central wedge is then driven hydraulically down between its two outer wedges, expanding in the core hole and cracking the concrete along a pre-determined path.
Successfully trialled on three live sites, this method has achieved excellent productivity and seen significant improvements in safety.
NBS – NBS BIM object standard
NBS identified the lack of standardisation in object authoring as a key obstacle to realising the benefits of BIM.
An industry-wide consultation over a six-month period in 2014 helped ensure a fit-for-purpose standard was delivered.
The standard was launched in September with support from the BIM Task Group, as well as organisations including Autodesk, Bentley, BuildingSMART and others.
It is a maintained and totally free resource for the entire industry to use to facilitate successful adoption and outputs of BIM, and has the potential to benefit the entire construction industry.
SGN – CISBOT and Robotics, ground-breaking in every sense
SGN’s cart iron joint sealing robot, or CISBOT, has demonstrated that effective partnering, communication and collaborative research can achieve ground-breaking alternatives to traditional techniques.
CISBOT allows SGN to work on live gas mains safely and efficiently, without closing off supply, enabling them to minimise safety hazards and disruption to the public, as well as renewing old pipe joints that are leaking or prone to leaking.
The project is now aiming to build several commercial-ready prototypes, which could be deployed across the British gas network.
Thomson Ecology – TIM Thomson Interactive Mapping
Last year saw the culmination of a three-stage project carried out by specialist ecology consultancy Thomson Ecology to change the way it provides services to its clients, developing a data-centric approach to managing its projects.
The firm developed an advanced spatial database to store and maintain all its ecology data; provided a mobile mapper to each surveyor; created secure TIM websites to allow project teams to view and interact with ‘live’ data; and developed a complete project management system with documents, photographs and reports.
The initiative has exceeded its cost-saving expectations, with TIM also now delivered to clients.