TIES Living Lab

What is TIES Living Lab? 

The Living Lab is a transformative collaboration of 25 partners together with Government, i3P and the Construction Innovation Hub that will use data, technology and Modern Methods of Construction within live transport infrastructure projects to deliver significant value-adding benefits across the transport infrastructure sector.


Over the next few years, the construction sector will witness a wave of infrastructure projects (£60 billion of spend each year over the next decade) and groundwork will be undertaken to set future financial settlements. The pace of this growth, and the size of this opportunity, demands a construction sector that is the best in the world. To maximise the opportunities to drive efficiency savings across the delivery of the transport infrastructure pipeline, the TIES Living Lab has been established, bringing together key UK Transport Client groups, Suppliers and academic experts to build capability within delivery, innovation and managing construction risk.

The UK has had a modest track record of infrastructure delivery with some programmes completed late; over budget; failing to secure the benefits expected; or cancelled after a significant investment. With the increasing challenge and complexity of the government’s pipeline of major projects, the capacity to deliver is being stretched. The estimation of cost and schedule can be improved and major projects and programmes are tending to avoid innovation risk. These attitudes to uncertainty and risk are deeply engrained and cultural, with inconsistencies across Departments and ALBs. Together, they create barriers to the greater uptake of Modern Methods of Construction and driving productivity.

TIES Living Lab offers a strategic, scalable and sector wide approach with Government, Client Groups, Suppliers and Academia working in partnership. To overcome these challenges, the Living Lab works in collaboration with i3P and the CIH to tackle the systemic issues that still obstruct the use, integration and adoption of innovations that could drive productivity and wider social benefits through major construction schemes. It will be a catalyst for cultural change, shifting focus within infrastructure delivery decision-making from the costs of construction to an understanding of its whole life value.

Professor Lord Robert Mair, Cambridge University, Chair of the DFT Science Advisory Council and Member Transport Research & Innovation Board:

"This demonstrator is a transformative collaboration. It uses data, technology and Modern Methods of Construction within live transport infrastructure projects to showcase the value of data visualisation through real-time data control rooms and demonstrates where we can drive even greater productivity and efficiency through innovation transfer. By implementing advanced construction and engineering techniques on live projects, we will deliver significantly better outcomes for society and provide the evidence needed to scale how we drive productivity across the transport infrastructure sector.”The project is funded via a grant from Innovate UK through the Transforming Construction programme plus contributions from the Department for Transport, HS2, Transport for London and Highways England."

NSAR is the Lead Partner, with responsibility for the Programme Management of TIES Living Lab, and will be looking closely at the data produced to understand the impact on people and skills and how skills can be an enabler in realising the desired outcomes.

The 25 partners are NSAR Ltd, Bryden Wood Technology Ltd, Costain Ltd, Office for National Statistics, Whole Life Consultants Ltd, Accelar Ltd, Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, Kier Construction Ltd, Akerlof Ltd, X-Treme Systems Ltd, Expedition Engineering Ltd, Walker Construction Ltd, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Strategic Rail Consultants Ltd, The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd, Social Profit Calculator Ltd, Powercube Ltd (Mavin Powercube), Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd, Transport for London, Highways England Ltd, East West Railway Company Ltd, University of Dundee, University of the West of England, University of Leeds. Programme Management is provided by Limberger Associates Ltd under contract to NSAR.”

NB: A micro-site for TIES Living Lab launches in mid-July, which will include updates, videos and further details on the Living Lab program.

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