Construction Industry News Roundup: February 2019
February 28 2019
25,000 new homes, a green light for Network Rail’s £35bn CP6 plan and artificial intelligence to prevent and predict natural disasters: Catch up on all the important industry news from this month.
Government signs off £250m for major housing projects
Full article at: Construction Enquirer
The UK government has signed off nearly £250m of funding to clear the way for construction of almost 25,000 more homes.
The funding will be invested in a range of projects. £157m of the package will be used to support critical infrastructure for big schemes in Devon and Cumbria.
The housing infrastructure fund loans will pay for a new motorway link road between south Carlisle and the M6, unlocking up to 10,000 new homes at St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
Further, £55m will be spent on road improvements and other infrastructure in Devon, supporting the development of 2,500 homes, which will be built to the south west of Exeter.
In a separate move, Homes England has struck a deal with the Ministry of Defence to build over 10,000 homes at seven military bases across the country.
In London, more than 1,500 new homes will be built at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park thanks to a £78m Home Building Fund loan to developers.
AI technology helping prevent natural disasters
Full article at: BBC Future
Earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding and wildfires are nature at their most fierce and uncontrollable. But predicting when and where they might strike could help save lives.
Predicting and controlling natural disasters, such as the spread of forest fires requires a detailed understanding of the forests and how to manage them. This presents a challenge that is beyond all but a handful of specialised experts. This is where artificial intelligence steps in.
A US-based company, SilviaTerra, is using artificial intelligence to map forests, providing resources to help planners reduce the risk of fires. Using satellite data along with aerial photographs and laser scanning techniques, the team is mapping every forest in the US, 305.5 million hectares, to a resolution of 15 square metres. Once the maps are complete, machine learning algorithms will help authorities to identify the areas most at risk of fire.
On the other side of the world, at Tohoku University in Japan, a team is developing a tool that uses AI to define areas affected by natural disasters, classify the damage on the ground and alert governments and rescue teams to where they are most needed.
And at SenSat, we have worked with Bam Nuttall to create a virtual flood corridor with the objective to allow computers to analyse the river, topography and flood risks across vastly more variables than humans alone could do. The highly detailed, digital 3d model helped inform what construction works Bam Nuttall needed to undertake to reduce flooding in the area. The building work is due to be completed by summer this year.
Final green light for Network Rail £35bn CP6 plan
Full article at: New Civil Engineer
Network Rail has given the green light for its £35bn funding package and spending plan for control period 6 (CP6), which will run for the next five years to 2024.
Detailed spending plans for the coming five-year period are due to be published at the end of March before the control period starts on the 1 April.
The railway in Britain is crucial to the prosperity of the country. Not only does it connect people with jobs and goods with markets, but it also stimulates economic growth. In recent years, Britain has had the fastest growing railway in Europe, with the number of rail journeys doubling in the last 20 years and passenger numbers expected to increase by around 40% by 2040.
The doubling in demand clearly marks the rail industry’s success, but as the railway has grown bigger, so has the cost of running it. Marc Carne, Chief Executive at Network Rail, points out that ”Network Rail needs to become the most efficient company we can be, and while we have driven down the cost of operating and running the railway by 40% in the last ten years, we can and must do more. New technology and more efficient ways of working will be key to the railway becoming a lean, innovative industry in the years ahead.”
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