A rapid growth in demand for cleaner, electric equipment to boost the construction industry has been forecast, according to a new report.
‘An Electric Decade in Construction’ published by Hyperdrive Innovation, a leading designer of lithium-ion battery technology, looks at the industry in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The industry-backed report highlighted the urgency in overcoming challenges such as meeting carbon emission targets, more infrastructure and tighter air pollution laws.
Experts in the construction industry, including members from Innovate UK, NCC, Willmott Dixon and Colas Group all emphasised the need for a ‘clean recovery’ from the pandemic.
Fifteen leading industry experts across Europe gave their views on issues including sustainability, health and safety and how electrified equipment can speed up construction processes, which will be vital after the inevitable delays caused by Covid-19.
Stephen Irish, commercial director of Hyperdrive Innovation, said: “Within the challenges on the industry to clean up its operations, lies a rich opportunity to jumpstart the transition to cleaner equipment.
“This report clearly and unequivocally finds that the next decade will be shaped by a rapid transition to cleaner, zero-emission construction equipment. Now is the time for the industry to take a leading role in achieving a more sustainable future.
“Not only is electrified equipment more sustainable but it also has a host of operational benefits, including fuel costs, driver safety and quieter sites.
“Rapid developments in battery technology are making electric equipment cheaper and more efficient, unlocking additional opportunities for construction managers focussing on cleaning up their sites.”
The report looked at the four main themes surrounding the construction industry over the next ten years: speed, safety, sustainability and simplicity.
It noted the importance of electrified equipment to help increase productivity, transitioning from polluting diesel engines in favour of cleaner electrified machinery, focussing on decarbonisation to help meet climate targets and looking at a ‘modern methods’ approach to construction to clean up the processes.
Thousands of construction sites were forced to close as countries across the globe went into lockdown and now the industry must meet the growing infrastructure demand across Europe.
Nadhim Zahawi, business and industry minister, said: “The construction industry has a vital role to play in rebuilding the UK’s economy, creating new skilled jobs while tackling environmental issues such as air pollution.
“Like Hyperdrive, our ambition is to build back greener and I look forward to working closely with industry to boost the sector through continued investment in the latest green technologies.”
Mike Pitts, deputy challenge director – transforming construction at Innovate UK and report contributor, added: “In the past the construction industry has been somewhat reluctant to make use of the latest innovations. But this is changing rapidly as the industry is starting to realise the benefits of embracing innovation.
“Times of crisis can often lead to rapid change. Recovery from Covid-19 could accelerate the adoption of technology to help speed up construction processes.”