A cloud-based platform developed by a Costain-led team could boost the amount of construction work approved by major clients, a key figure has claimed.
Neil Robertson, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Rail, said the Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre (IICC) could help prove the business case for capital investment.
The digital platform is designed to boost the take-up of modern ways of working across the construction sector and thereby improve consistency.
Robertson told delegates at an online event on Friday that uncertainty over the true timetable and cost of projects was often a barrier to getting them off the ground.
“Consistent overruns are cited as a reason for not investing, so greater precision may lead to more engineering,” he said.
The IICC was created by a team managed by Costain strategic growth manager Charlie Davies, as part of the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) Living Lab programme.
Davies said the system could slash the cost of construction. “At the moment, you can push a lot of data through the platform, but when you look at the scale of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) portfolio, that is a huge scale of data and projects,” he said.
“If we have a single source of truth for all of those, then that enables us to be more efficient on our decision-making processes when delivering UK infrastructure.”
Figures released by the Treasury at last year’s Autumn Budget showed that the DfT had a £96bn capital budget for the five years to April 2025.
Davies added that massive benefits could be gained from making sure lessons learned on one project were taken on with future schemes. “We are reducing the amount of re-engineering, ensuring that where step changes are realised, this is transferred across your portfolio,” he explained.
Robertson said a productivity review had highlighted savings of up to 4 per cent in other sectors adopting similar data platforms.
“Looking at the DfT portfolio, 4 per cent is quite a lot,” he said. “It is just a potential figure, but the point is to start to implement this now and we will see the benefits.”
The TIES Living Lab is a collaboration of 25 partners, focusing on 10 infrastructure, data research and digital demonstrator projects.
The group works with the government, the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Partnership, the Construction Innovation Hub and academics to tackle the systemic issues it believes obstruct the use, integration and adoption of innovations that drive productivity in construction.