During our July Digital Drop-In session, we explored the 5G-AMC2 (Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction) funded by DCMS’ 5G Create programme. The project led by BAM Nuttall in collaboration with BRE and AttoCore is the only construction related project in the programme which aims to promote the use and development of 5G and develop UK capacity. Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall, shared insights into the 5G technology, which is being trialled at BAM’s regional base in Scotland and a substation project in Shetland for SSE.
5G can enhance existing technologies and enable new technologies. It opens up significant opportunities in the digital construction space, including connectivity to remote locations, high accuracy location tracking on sites and better-quality data streaming and advanced surveying.
It opens up opportunities to deliver high-quality remote access to sites and reduce the number of people needed on site. It does require either a high-quality cable or a microwave link to the site. There are opportunities for it to work well in the autonomous vehicle sphere, although access to interoperable equipment is limited for this phase of the project.
Economists are looking at the benefits realisation as part of the project, but it opens up real benefits for synchronising engineers and embedding workflows in real-time. This opens up opportunities to help solve the transparency issues that hold back construction as digital workflows can help provide proof.
As the system effectively represents an extension to an organisation’s private network, it provides security advantages over and above existing approaches. The signal can also be divided up and prioritised across the site or to different functions. Digital security is set to grow as a significant issue for the construction industry. The programme aims to build capacity within the supply chain, and hardware compatibility has been an issue that will become less significant as the technology becomes more widespread.
As with any innovation pilot project, the team suggest the following steps to set the project for success:
• Pick the launch people carefully, bring in people with the right mindset
• Find a digitally enabled client that will get the value
• Work with a receptive project team