Read the Latest News on a Massive Retrofitting, the Building Sector Welcomes Youth, Marshals Profits Plummet as Construction Slows, and a Construction AI That is Speeding Up and Communicating

In today’s UK construction news, we will look into the goal of reaching net zero cannot be achieved without widespread retrofitting. In order to improve our structures, Mike O’Donnell, who works for Sir Robert McAlpine, contends that the problem-solving skills of the construction industry are essential. The construction business, on the other hand, is beginning to welcome members of the emerging generation. Moreover, with the building industry experiencing a slump, Marshalls’ profits continue to decline. On top of this, the use of artificial intelligence in building is becoming increasingly important as the United Kingdom continues to experience economic instability.

Without Massive Retrofitting, Net Zero is Unachievable

Original Source: Without large-scale retrofitting, net zero is impossible

Sir Robert McAlpine’s Mike O’Donnell argues construction’s problem-solving skills are needed to upgrade our structures.

The UK must secure business sector cooperation to meet its legally enforceable net-zero 2050 ambition. The built environment influences 42% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), hence the building industry must make net-zero promises in the same or shorter timeframe.

Net-zero building approaches have evolved in the previous decade, but new structures are only one of the carbon emissions equations. By 2050, 80% of buildings will still be in service.

Global energy efficiency improvements might save more than 40% of energy-related emissions needed to meet climate targets. Decarbonising existing building assets is a fundamental way UK construction can cut energy use and carbon emissions.

It’s now a business case as well as an environmental one. The government’s stricter energy efficiency standards will leave 30 million sq ft of unlettable space in London by 2030.

A blanket commitment to retaining and retrofitting old structures is an accomplishment. Given the age and different standards of the UK’s building stock, retrofitting buildings to modern performance requirements will take extensive labour and may have hidden carbon costs.

Technical issues arise with retrofitting.

Sir Robert McAlpine designed, built, and digitally constructed 100 Liverpool Street, the first net-zero British Land building. 32% of the steel frame and 49% of the concrete foundations and slabs were retained and incorporated into the new building, saving 3,435 and 4,086 tonnes of carbon, respectively.

Retrofitting projects require temporary work that can significantly increase embodied carbon.

By retrofitting The Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, London, Sir Robert McAlpine saved almost 2,000 tonnes of demolition trash and 3,700 tonnes of carbon emissions. But jacking up the eight-story concrete frame needed extensive temporary work using tiny piles with more cement, raising embodied carbon costs. Many refurbishment projects require a lot of steel, yet in the UK, recycled steel is relatively rare.

These carbon costs can be estimated, however upgrading existing structures will add unforeseen carbon budgets. The challenge of older structures is not knowing what a project team will find until renovation begins. Effective planning is needed to provide for carbon budget flexibility and reduce project carbon emissions.

Contractors must involve stakeholders

Contractors must involve stakeholders, clients, and supply chain partners in retrofitting.

Throughout a building’s life cycle, stakeholders should discuss embodied and operational carbon. We can advise stakeholders on their carbon reduction responsibilities, share best practices across the industry, and improve refurbishment project supply and demand.

By engaging contractors early, clients may help us mitigate retrofitting risks and deliver the project on time and within budget while meeting sustainability targets.

The UK’s construction stock remains a problem.

Action is needed now to avoid millions of pounds of stranded built environment assets in the UK. To help attain net zero, building must ensure our client offerings can handle this challenge.

We must rethink some construction sectors, but we are problem-solvers propelled by engineering excellence. We will succeed if we put our greatest minds to net-zero and are open to new methods and innovations.

The Building Sector Welcomes Youth

Original Source: The construction industry opens its doors to the next generation

Open Doors 2024 begins today with the first visitors touring UK construction sites and workplaces to learn about the industry’s many job prospects.

There are 220 activities until Saturday, from high-profile building projects to manufacturing plants, offices, and training centres, presenting a unique look at the construction industry.

Events at London and Birmingham high-end commercial developments, where new technologies are creating Grade A office space, are highlights.

Willmott Dixon is renovating 19 Cornwall Street in Birmingham’s business district into a net zero carbon, smart-enabled office building that satisfies today’s employer criteria.

Open Doors, hosted by Build UK each year, allows young people and career changers to witness construction in action and learn about 180 various occupations.

Build UK is the primary UK building industry representative. It promotes construction’s value and drives sector-enhancing transformation by bringing together customers, contractors, trade groups representing a wide range of specialist contractors, professional services, and other industry collaborators.

It’s exciting to showcase our wonderful sector this week, said Build UK Chair Julie White, who will attend the event at 19 Cornwall Street. Open Doors lets people view our interesting initiatives and outstanding teams using the newest technology to solve a variety of problems. Open Doors is the best method to illustrate that construction is a career for everyone, regardless of skills or interests, as construction needs to recruit 50,000 new entrants each year.

Marshals Profits Plummet as Construction Slows

Original Source: Marshalls profits crumble amid construction slowdown

Groundwork building suppliers Marshalls’ shares fell on Monday after reporting disappointing 2023 results.

As customers spent less due to tough conditions, revenue fell 7% to £671.2m.

Marshalls tried to boost earnings to lower costs, but UK construction industry headwinds caused profit to fall faster than expected. IN 2023, EBITDA fell 24% and operating profit fell 30%.

Marshalls shares fell over 10% at press time. The drop was a reality check after property and construction stocks rallied from year-lows.

The shares appear to have decoupled from business performance in late 2023 and snapped today in line with a weak earnings year.

Marshalls said revenues in the first two months of 2024 were lower than in 2023, highlighting its challenges. Revenues are expected to match 2023 levels in 2024.

The new CEO hired in March has a job.

“Inflation and higher rates have put pressure on the UK building market, including Marshalls and other material suppliers. Adam Vettese, analyst at eToro, said the recovery has been slower than expected, lowering profits.

While there is nothing any company can do about macro factors, Marshalls has focused on keeping costs low in a tough market, which it has done reasonably well, though this has not helped offset the sluggish start to the year. Guidance has dropped to 2023 levels, and new CEO Matt Pullen must turn fortunes around to save the year.

Construction AI: Speeding up and Communicating

Original Source: AI in construction: Transforming speed and communication

As the UK faces economic uncertainty, AI in construction becomes a vital project management tool. AECOM AI and visualisation lead Andy Thomas explains.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been present since the 1950s, but rapid technological advances have put it at the centre of UK economic growth plans.

Like any new innovation, some resist, with roughly a third of Brits fearing that AI would replace their jobs.

AI’s influence on jobs is multifaceted and will provide value and challenge—but it’s here to stay. Thus, understanding how the built environment may benefit from technology is crucial.

Effective project delivery

Using AI in construction will assist contractors and design teams speed up projects. The UK endured economic volatility in 2023, and while lowering inflation and probable interest reduction will improve growth, 2024 is unknown.

Developers will choose organisations that prioritise sustainability, speed, and value in project delivery.

This could involve using machine learning and genetic algorithms in analysis and design and AI tools for project scheduling, resource allocation, and risk assessment in construction management.

Design and imagination

AI in building is transforming 3D visualisation in design. AI-generated graphics can inspire architects to use computer-rendered visuals instead of sketching and painting.

AI-driven solutions can automate initial project chores like creating lifelike conceptual graphics, which formerly required considerable work.

This lets designers focus on their creativity. New technologies like ‘text to image’ and ‘text to 3D model’ could revolutionise designer collaboration and 3D imaging, animation, virtual reality, and real-time experiences.

This will be a tremendous benefit in pre-design and design development, as architects and engineering teams will collaborate to complete projects on schedule, under budget, and to Client specifications.

AI in construction can aid sustainable project design. Some tools can optimise building designs for energy efficiency, structural stability, and cost.

Sustainable architecture relies on energy efficiency, and AI can enhance designs by analysing wind patterns, sun radiation, and building orientation.

It can also assess environmental effect, durability, recyclability, and biodegradability to choose sustainable building materials.

We can now create several images and experiment with forms, design styles, materials, and more during project start-up. This speeds up rejecting inappropriate choices and refining initial concepts based on feedback.

The second use is image post-production. Translating design team ideas into visual concepts that may be modified until they match the client’s vision can also boost client collaboration.

AI in construction allows real-time addition, removal, and modification of trees, people, and vehicles.

It can change background, image format, and rescale without losing detail. This will improve project design efficiency, accuracy, and productivity over manual methods.

Social value and stakeholder engagement

AI in construction may shape technical processes and customer feedback and increase communication and stakeholder involvement, which the built environment industry is often noted for lacking.

We built a virtual consultation platform during the epidemic to simulate in-person consultations with exhibition boards, maps, movies, virtual reality, and sound demonstration.

Tracking anonymous user data gives demographic information on public engagement and helps companies discover the best ways to engage with people and which stakeholders aren’t being represented.

Users might navigate using a keyboard or screen reader. During development, we realised that screen aid technologies lacked the ‘naturalness’ of human communication. We used AI text-to-speech technology to let consumers specify their preferred communication style and tone.

We also introduced an AI-driven chatbot educated on FAQs and consultation materials to manage demand for our ‘live chat’ service and enable continuous engagement. Engagement and response times increased.

To be competitive, the built environment industry must adapt to AI technologies and engage in training.

AI in construction is projected to alter our job, improving efficiency, productivity, collaboration, and communication.

We’ve seen some of AI’s benefits, but this revolution is just beginning. The sector could alter drastically in a few years, and the most successful will adapt.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed about achieving a widespread dedication to preserving and enhancing older buildings is a significant achievement. Retrofitting buildings to meet modern performance requirements will entail a lot of effort and could result in hidden carbon costs due to the older and differing standards of the UK’s building base. The first guests of Open Doors 2024 are touring construction sites and businesses in the United Kingdom today to get a feel for the field and the various opportunities it offers. From prominent construction projects to offices, training centres, and manufacturing plants, there are 220 events scheduled until Saturday that provide a glimpse into the construction industry as a whole. In addition, following the release of dismal statistics for 2023, Groundwork building suppliers Marshalls saw a decline in Monday’s share price. Total revenue dropped 7% to £671.2m as consumers cut back on spending in response to the challenging economic climate. Marshalls attempted to increase profits in order to decrease expenses, however unexpected headwinds in the UK construction market led profits to decline more quickly than anticipated. Both operational profit and EBITDA declined by 30% in 2023. In addition to that, Using AI for building project management is crucial as the UK economy experiences economic uncertainties. Reasoned by Andy Thomas, head of artificial intelligence and visualisation at AECOM. Though it has been around since the 1950s, the UK government has recently prioritised AI development in its strategy to boost the economy. A third of Britons worry that AI would make them obsolete in the workplace, which is typical of those who are resistant to change.

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