Despite the fact the construction sector has been contracting in 2019, UK construction has increased investment into research and development (R&D) by almost 10%.
According to the Office of National Statistics data, analysed by Catex, R&D investment increased 9.7% in the past year to £31 million.
The increased push towards Modern Methods of Construction by the Government in recent months has been seen as a catalyst for further investment in this area of construction.
A report published by the Housing, Communities and Local Government urged the Government to consider using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) to help tackle the housing crisis.
The report considered the potential of MMC in enabling new build property to be constructed quickly and cheaply whilst maintaining quality.
The committee implored the Government to act quickly in embracing new materials, digital working and precision manufacturing techniques in the house building process.
Currently, the uptake in using MMC approaches in house building remains low. The report suggests that supply chain capacity needed increasing and adequate training for the workforce needs implementing for the construction sector to stand any chance of fully embracing new technologies and methods of building.
The latest research suggests that the construction sector has taken heed of these recommendations and is looking into MMC as a viable construction option.
Mark Tighe, Chief Executive of R&D at Catax, said:
“The construction industry is a huge employer in this country but contributes a relatively small amount to the UK total of R&D spending.
“However, the sector is experiencing some interesting changes, not least the rapid growth of offsite construction methods. This is likely to be a contributing factor behind this large jump in overall R&D spending last year.
“More broadly, this is the second full year that Brexit Britain has shrugged off the political poison after the EU referendum and posted great gains in terms of R&D investment, running head and shoulders above the long-term average.
“For the first time in history a quarter of a million people nationwide are engaged full time in keeping the UK at the cutting edge. This is going to make a huge difference to Britain’s prospects outside the EU.
“The rate at which UK businesses are adding R&D staff to the workforce remains impressive, virtually matching the previous year with a rise of 7.3%.”
How important are MMC in helping the construction sector increase efficiency and speed in building more new homes?