Fund to sup­port hi-tech con­struc­tion com­pa­nies

Birmingham Post - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

ANEW £10 mil­lion in­no­va­tion fund and pro­gramme has been launched to sup­port con­struc­tion com­pa­nies that show how their tech­nol­ogy can im­prove the sec­tor’s pro­duc­tiv­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and skills.

Called Con­strucTech, it has been launched by busi­ness sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion Vir­gin StartUp with Birm­ing­ham-based con­struc­tion group Col­more Tang.

It is aimed at help­ing start-up com­pa­nies and en­trepreneurs and is said to be the first time Vir­gin StartUp has part­nered with a com­pany out­side of the Vir­gin Group on one of its busi­ness grammes.

Vir­gin StartUp said con­struc­tion in the UK had been slow to em­brace in­no­va­tion and adopt new tech­nol­ogy with more than a third of con­struc­tion projects over­run on time or bud­get. It will use this ini­tia­tive to iden­tify and re­cruit tech­nol­ogy busi­nesses in­ter­na­tion­ally that could meet the in­no­va­tion gap in fields such as shar­ing best prac­tice across projects, us­ing data to pre-empt po­ten­tial de­lays and de­sign­ing ma­te­ri­als to im­prove sus­tain­abil­ity.

Andy Robin­son, group chief ex­ec­u­tive of Col­more Tang, said: “The de­bate around tech­nol­ogy in con­struc­tion needs to move for­ward quickly.

“Other in­dus­tries are much bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tor pro- at see­ing the po­ten­tial in tech­nol­ogy and grasp­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and com­mer­cial gain.

“Con­struc­tion is fall­ing be­hind and it’s hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on the sec­tor, grow­ing the di­vide be­tween the tra­di­tional, age­ing work­force and the young, tech­no­log­i­cally-ad­vanced work­force that is choos­ing other in­dus­tries over ours.”

Sir Tom Shebbeare, chair­man of Vir­gin StartUp, added: “En­trepreneurs have the power to pos­i­tively dis­rupt whole sec­tors.

“Ev­ery day we sup­port in­spir­ing and in­no­va­tive start-ups and help them to take their prod­uct or ser­vice to mar­ket. Con­strucTech is an im­por­tant pro­gramme for start-ups that want to ac­cess op­por­tu­ni­ties within the con­struc­tion sec­tor.”

> Andy Robin­son of Col­more Tang

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