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31st August 2017

August Construction Round-Up

August saw some ups and downs for the construction industry. While the sector has been slow to adopt process and technology innovations, this month brings the news of augmented reality and self-driving trucks to penetrate the market. Nonetheless, there are some signs of instability. Keep reading for more insights.

Self-driving Trucks to Protect Road Workers

Highway maintenance contractor Colas has been working on transforming an impact protection vehicle (IPV) into an autonomous machine that has the potential to help the sector address the risks road workers face on a daily basis. Fitted with an electro-mechanical applique kit and fully integrated sensor suite, the vehicle can operate unmanned and serve as a mobile crash barrier protecting road workers. More here via The Construction Index.

Virtual Reality Set to Spread Across Construction Sites

Innovate UK is investing £1m into a programme to develop an Augmented Worker System (AWE) which will support safety, efficiency and sustainability through five key areas – co-design, digital job guidance, progress monitoring, safety guidance and asset management. This innovation is set to greatly improve productivity and output quality, reshaping how the sector deliver and maintain its built assets. Find out what this means for the construction industry here.

House-building Starts Hit Nine-year High

According to the Department for Communities & Local Government, house building is on the rise, up 13% on the previous year - reaching their highest level since 2008.  This is still only 16% of the 2007 Q1 peak however the rising demand of new home building is more than promising and is a sign of market stability following Brexit uncertainty. Get the low-down on the figures.

Edinburgh to Consider £165m Tram Extension

City of Edinburgh Council is set to vote on the extension of the existing 8.7 mile route from York Place in the east end of the city to Newhaven close to Leith harbour – Scotland’s most densely populated area.  A ‘yes’ vote will allow the council to start the process of appointing contractors and finalising plans before the final vote in autumn 2018. If granted, the extension will take three years to complete and will not only reduce congestion but also boost economic growth, create jobs and improve air quality. Together with the Edinburgh Airport’s Terminal Expansion Project the investments will improve journey times at the same time boosting Scotland’s economy. Find out more about the tram extension plans.

Construction Pre-tax Margins Average 1.5%

It has been reported the collective pre-tax profit of Top 100 construction contractors has dropped 4.1% to £1.1bn, with the margins falling from 1.7% to 1.5%. Despite the total revenue up 7.6% to £74.3bn (£69.1bn), many of the industry’s big names are actively looking to boost profit and margins with house-building, development and support services. The drop comes as a result of challenging market conditions and rising inflation and input however many contractor bosses remain positive for the future and increasing margins. More here via The Construction Index.

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