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HS2 Trial AI to Cut Carbon Emissions
- September 21, 2020

As part of its plans to reduce its carbon footprint, a new carbon and cost estimating solution, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), is being trialled on a number of HS2 sites managed by the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture.

Using an AI tool, the building information model (BIM) processes are automated so that different design options can be simulated using different types and quantities of construction materials. This means that carbon emissions and the environmental impact of different construction options can be visualised, measured, and compared. This results in the design of a more environmentally friendly solution.

BIM is a collaborative process coupled with the use of the latest technology trends in 3D Computer Aided Design and Engineering to develop digital representations of HS2’s railway assets such bridges and stations.

This new solution, being developed by Skanska as part of a project funded via Innovate UK, is an innovation that will replace the current method of manually measuring 3D drawings and will assist in the design process in reducing carbon emissions throughout the life of a building. The results will deliver carbon and cost savings, not just throughout HS2, but across the sector as a whole.

The new tool will enable construction projects to leverage the full benefits of BIM and will empower construction teams to design for cost and carbon efficiency. This will lead to shorter pre-construction phases, reduce project management costs, give greater visibility of carbon emissions and overall will result in improved cost and carbon control. This project will also develop industry best practice for estimation and cost management.

A consortium of organisations is working to develop the solution. The consortium has Skanska UK leading the project, working in partnership with software developer Nomitech, design consultant Mott MacDonald, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC Data and AI Research), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and HS2.

HS2’s Head of Digital Engineering Sonia Zahiroddiny said: “HS2 is a project designed to support the UK’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy, so we’re extremely pleased that we can provide a live construction environment for the practical application of this new AI-enabled App.

“Innovation is at the heart of our drive to reduce carbon, and this ground-breaking solution will enable us to realise immediate efficiencies across Phase One of the project, as well as building it into Phase Two. We will also play our role in disseminating the new App to the wider industry in order to achieve cultural change across the sector to help meet the UK’s carbon emission targets.”

Skanska’s Head of Innovation Vaibhav Tyagi said: “This is a fantastic example of how an innovative mind-set can lead to solutions that address climate change. Investing in innovation is essential to produce great ideas like this. Innovation and digital integration are critical to reduce carbon and work towards net-zero emissions.”

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