Learn About the Latest News on Storm Ciarán and UK Extreme Weather Resilience, Health Injuries Occurred in UK Construction Workers, and Building £60m UK Biobank HQ Location

In today’s UK construction news, we will look into the Forecasting with artificial intelligence: Storm Ciarán and the resilience of the United Kingdom to extreme weather occurrences 1. 1.5 million construction workers in the United Kingdom are already at risk, and around 700,000 injuries have already been caused by poor mental health. In addition, construction has begun on the new headquarters of the UK Biobank, which will cost sixty million pounds. 

Storm Ciarán and UK Extreme Weather Resilience Under AI Forecasting

Original Source: AI forecasting: Storm Ciarán and UK resilience to extreme weather events

With the UK needing to be more resilient to catastrophic weather, Dr. Simon Driscoll and Dr. Natalie Harvey from the University of Reading examine the AI forecasting revolution and its mixed success in capturing a record windstorm.

Recent years have seen a revolution in AI and ML.

AI and ML have expanded beyond the ‘perceptron’ paradigm (designed to replicate brain neurons) to be used in economics, research, technology, industry, and more.

Machine learning and AI are increasingly widespread, and we often ‘talk’ to chatbots like ChatGPT and Gemini for daily aid.

ML and AI are algorithms that can learn from and predict data. AI also refers to systems that use these algorithms for robotics, problem-solving, etc. Big data fuels these statistical algorithms.

ML/AI forecasting

Weather forecasting is a computer problem like brain simulation and early universe evolution. It’s natural that ML and AI are used here.

The present state of the atmosphere is determined by integrating data from weather stations on Earth and satellites in space (and everything in between!).

Numerical weather forecasting models start with this data. These models anticipate atmospheric conditions days and weeks ahead using physics.

The atmosphere is chaotic, therefore two essentially identical atmospheres could soon diverge to have distinct weather for the next few days. Therefore, reliable weather forecasting requires massive supercomputer computations and regular observation network upgrades.

Remember that ML and AI systems learn data patterns and forecasts. If ML and AI systems could learn from the massive amount of ‘reanalysis’ data (the best weather estimate at the time), they may possibly forecast the weather.

ML and AI have been used in climatic contexts before, but ECMWF scientists made the first attempt to anticipate weather in 2018.

This key work does not yet challenge physics-based numerical weather prediction.

All of this changed in recent years. The publishing of a WeatherBench dataset, an ECMWF 10-year ML roadmap, and other ML advances like leveraging GPUs to calculate have changed the scene.

Huawei, NVIDIA, and Google built four ML/AI models for short-to-medium weather forecasts in 2022 and 2023.

Combining ECMWF’s world-leading training data with tech companies’ vast resources and talents has rapidly improved ML and AI models.

In many domains, AI models can currently make better forecasts than NWP models and run faster.

Storm Ciarán

Storm Ciaran developed a record-breaking low pressure core in late 2023 from a minor North Atlantic disturbance.

It brought over 115 mph winds to France and Britain in early November. The severe winds killed 16 individuals, closed schools and airports, and left almost 1 million houses without power.

A University of Reading group led by Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez investigated how effectively AI forecasting algorithms could model this storm and compare them to NWP models.

The AI models were not trained on Storm Ciarán data when the study was conducted. They could boost AI models’ ability to anticipate future storms by successfully predicting this storm’s traits.

Compare AI models to NWP

The study compared Huawei, Google, and NVIDIA AI models against ECMWF, UK Met Office, Japan Meteorological Agency, and National Centres for Environmental Prediction NWP models.

All models tracked the storm throughout the Atlantic and accurately identified its centre’s mean sea level pressure low.

Despite the rapid use of AI in weather forecasting, AI models failed to capture Storm Ciarán’s peak wind speeds, whereas NWP models did far better.

This matters for two reasons. First, weather warnings are based on projected wind speeds above a threshold. NWP models anticipated wind speeds that prompted a red risk to life alert in the UK and France.

Using AI projected winds could have led to a lower alert category and a higher death toll.

Small changes in wind speed can lead to huge differences in windstorm economic loss estimates because they are usually estimated as the cube of the normalised wind gust speed.

The scientists also compared projections to ECMWF data to determine Storm Ciarán’s dynamical structure, which provided the best storm evolution estimate.

The dynamical models captured many significant dynamical elements of Storm Ciaran, but they failed to produce the narrow band of wind that caused the most severe impacts and the severity of the temperature variations across the weather fronts.

Future of AI and UK extreme weather resistance

The study found that AI models may not capture dangerous extreme traits, despite their success.

In a report on extreme weather risks, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said the UK government “lacks the required robust leadership, oversight and urgency” to strengthen society-wide resilience.

As climate change proceeds, extreme weather events will become more likely, making risk management more important.

Storm Ciarán was not an unusual storm, thus UK readiness must also include studying how reliable AI model predictions are for more dynamically unpredictable storms.

AI models will be used more to forecast weather and extremes, as the ECMWF has AIFS to compete with tech companies.

This emphasises the need to understand what these models are physically doing, explaining how and why they are performing well and missing features.

To reduce unnecessary deaths and weather-related damage, the public, decision- making politicians, and the insurance business must be informed about their strengths and vulnerabilities, especially during extreme storms.

A correct understanding and improvement of these models, building on studies like this through further research, could lead to AI weather forecasts of thousands of realisations with great accuracy, speed, and physical consistency.

1.5m Around 700,000 Mental Health Injuries Have Occurred in UK Construction Workers

Original Source: 1.5m UK construction workers at risk with circa 700,000 injuries already caused from poor mental health

According to recent research from business insurer QBE, 1.5m UK construction workers have worked in risky environments with poor mental health and close to 700,000 injuries.

QBE research exposes the cost of poor mental health to UK construction for the first time. A QBE survey of 362 UK construction workers’ mental wellbeing at work. The results suggest they will work despite the higher risk of damage.

Three quarters of UK construction workers with poor mental health worked in risky conditions despite the risk. In addition, 27% of construction workers had taken time off in the past year owing to poor mental health, with 46% taking at least one week off.

The data also finds that poor mental health cost the UK construction industry around 5.1 million working days last year, compared to 18 million for the economy. Over 9% of the UK workforce works in construction, which employs 3.1 million people.

Government estimates attribute 49% of work-related illness to stress, sadness, or anxiety. Work-related ill health accounts for 54% of lost workdays in the UK.

This week at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) conference in Manchester, QBE urged employers to support and safeguard their employees.

QBE Europe Risk Solutions Practice Leader David Dexter said:

Mental illness is the leading cause of lost workdays in the UK and numerous workplace mishaps.

We understand how mental health can cause incidents and claims in the UK construction business.

“Companies should prioritise worker safety after Construction Safety Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. Even a tiny positive improvement in an employer’s wellbeing and mental health approach can significantly reduce workplace stress and accidents.

“Improving workplace culture by encouraging openness and demystifying stigmas when discussing mental health demonstrates to staff that their health and wellbeing should be a business priority.”

Key study findings include:

  • Half of industry workers, 1.5m, have worked in unsafe conditions while mentally ill.
  • 22%, or 682,000 workers, have been injured at work due to mental illness.
  • 76% of people who work with mental illness feel it raises harm risk.
  • Mental health costs the UK construction industry £1.2bn annually, with 1.7 days lost per worker[5] and 5.1m last year.
  • 27% are uneasy discussing mental health with their workplace.
  • 32% of workers reported their employer never checked their mental health.
  • Over a third (38%) of respondent construction workers told their employer they were absent from work due to a physical condition, when in fact it was mental illness.
  • Workplace stigma prevents 36% from discussing mental health.

Building £60m UK Biobank HQ Location

Original Source: Construction underway on £60m new UK Biobank HQ site

For the £60 million Greenheys development in Manchester Science Park, Bruntwood SciTech has hired Willmott Dixon as lead contractor.

The Bruntwood, Legal & General, and Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), the UK’s largest specialist property platform for the science, tech, and innovation sector, are making progress in transforming Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor knowledge quarter into a life sciences and technology hub.

Greenheys, being built on site, will be 131,000 sq ft over six stories and finish in summer 2026. It pledges to “redefine the landscape of specialised laboratory spaces tailored for diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine businesses.”

Greenheys will house UK Biobank, the world’s largest health data source for research, on three levels. Modern facilities, including a robotic freezer that can store and retrieve up to 20 million biological samples four times faster than existing norms, will speed up scientific discoveries in its lab. The transfer will speed up sample delivery to researchers, enabling UK Biobank to store more samples, and be more ecologically friendly.

The new UK Biobank building, supported by Manchester University, is near top scientific, academic, corporate and NHS organisations. This would give UK Biobank new options for multi-disciplinary researcher-industry engagement, boosting innovation, health impact, and economic growth in Manchester and beyond.

Greenheys will offer CL2 labs with 2,500 to 22,000 square feet of office space. Advanced technical features will include vibration resistance, piped gas distribution, cooling and ventilation, high-security access, and 100GB ultrafast connectivity.

In addition to being BREEAM Excellent, Greenheys will be the first UK lab space to be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its communal rooms.

Through Bruntwood SciTech’s partner network, life science enterprises at Manchester Science Park, Europe’s largest clinical academic campus, can collaborate with The University of Manchester and MFT. This includes direct R&D and finance support, skilled talent, and clinical trial chances.

Greenheys businesses have access to campus-wide event spaces, café, gym, conference rooms, and parking, as well as grab-and-go food kiosks, communal breakout spaces, safe bike storage, showers, and more.

Development director Sam Darby of Bruntwood SciTech said: “We are delighted to have Willmott Dixon on board for the Greenheys development. Their expertise matches our ambition for a facility that would facilitate life sciences innovation and become one of the UK’s most advanced and specialised life science venues.

We are convinced that Willmott Dixon’s commitment to quality and sustainability will provide a world-class facility that satisfies the scientific community’s needs and benefits Manchester.”

Bruntwood SciTech’s latest commitment to Manchester comes after it announced £500m in financing in October 2023 to drive scientific, technology, and innovation growth and welcomed GMPF to the joint venture. It intends to build a £5bn portfolio that supports 2,600 high-growth enterprises by 2032 as the UK’s largest dedicated property platform for the knowledge economy. In Manchester Science Park’s 1m sq ft vision, Greenheys joins Bruntwood SciTech’s Citylabs 4.0, No. 3 Circle Square, and Pall Mall, the latest city centre innovation hub.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed the University of Reading’s Drs. Simon Driscoll and Natalie Harvey investigate the breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI) weather prediction and its mixed results in recording a record windstorm, all in the interest of making the United Kingdom more resilient to severe weather. Meanwhile, new data from business insurer QBE shows that 1.5 million people in the UK have suffered from poor mental health as a result of working in hazardous workplaces, and that there have been nearly 700,000 injuries. In addition, Bruntwood SciTech has appointed Willmott Dixon as the principal contractor for the Greenheys development in Manchester Science Park, which is valued at £60 million. Efforts are being made to develop Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor knowledge quarter into a centre for life sciences and technology by The Bruntwood, Legal & General, and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF), the biggest specialist property platform in the UK for the science, technology, and innovation sector.

Related Posts