Transforming UK construction: demonstrator projects

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £26 million for practical, demonstrator projects in MMC, digital and whole-life asset performance.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £26 million

Opens: 28th Aug 2019

Closes: 6th Nov 2019

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of this competition is to present a portfolio of demonstrator projects which showcase close-to-market solutions that go beyond the current state-of-the-art.

Demonstrators will apply known approaches on real world projects showing how improvements in the UK construction sector can be delivered at scale.


They should:

  • demonstrate improvements to productivity, quality and performance in UK construction.
  • demonstrate technologies across the infrastructure, social infrastructure, commercial construction or homebuilding sectors
  • build industry capability (excluding skills and training) to innovate and accelerate the commercialisation of new solutions
  • demonstrate commitments to long-term, collaborative relationships between clients and supply chains across sectors
  • demonstrate measurable improvements in the level of pre-manufactured value in buildings and infrastructure
  • establish their contribution to Sector Deal targets to reduce costs and emissions; improve speed of delivery and increase exports

Demonstrators will include new validations of business models, digital approaches to design, construction and management, advancements in modern methods of construction and approaches to whole-life performance of a building or assets.

Your project must:

  • show how you will assist delivery of the sector commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal including demonstrating industry leverage funding
  • support the objectives of the TIP strategy and/or TIES as appropriate
  • take a cyber-security and safety minded approach and use PAS 1192-5 and PAS1192-6 where applicable

The Transforming Construction Challenge has several stakeholders and activities that are complementary to the programme. Applicants are strongly advised to liaise with relevant stakeholders as part of the application process. Successful projects will be expected to work with these stakeholders, which include:

  • the Construction Innovation Hub and its partners
  • the Active Building Centre and its partners

Demonstrators should cover most of the following:

  • advantages of MMC at scale with real-world examples exhibiting:
    • how products, services and methods increase the Pre-Manufactured Value of projects
    • product family architectures and standardised components in a product platform with repeatable processes
    • how increasing MMC and production in parallel with site preparation enables increased productivity in delivery, minimises inefficiencies, waste and delays.
  • significant improvements to whole life performance (including energy use) of the built asset, shifting focus from costs of construction to whole-life value across the assets’ entire life-cycle
  • reformed and exemplar information management of built assets to deliver better, more certain results during the design, construction and operation of a building or infrastructure asset.
  • new business models, and procurement methods to enable the transformation of the sector towards MMC, supported through analytics of demand and supply chain capacity, benchmarking and sector metrics.
  • qualified benefits to the delivery of national infrastructure projects, including housing, in relation to government targets.


To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • collaborate with other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations, academic institutions or charities
  • include at least one micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, research organisation, public sector organisation, academic institution or charity
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • be invited to take part by the lead organisation

The lead organisation and at least one other organisation must claim funding and enter their costs as part of the application.

Your project can include partners that do not receive any funding (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators.

Funding Costs

Innovate UK have allocated up to £26 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £500,000 and £8 million.

Projects must start by 1 April 2020 and end by 31 March 2022. Projects should last between 12 and 24 months. The duration of your project cannot exceed 24 months under any circumstances.

Projects longer than 12 months should incur and claim the greater proportion (less than 90%) of project costs in the 2020/2021 financial year in order to fit the required spend profile. The project spend profile is part of the assessment criteria.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 50% if you are a large business

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small business
  • up to 35% if you are a medium-sized business
  • up to 25% if you are a large business

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum is shared between them.


Innovate UK will not fund projects that:

  • are defined as feasibility studies in the general guidance
  • do not respond to the aims and objectives of the Transforming Construction ISCF Programme and are unable to tangibly demonstrate improvements to the current state-of-the-art in construction
  • are focussed on skills (although reference to skills as a by-product of proving new techniques is permitted)
  • duplicate innovation in: traditional construction methods, BIM Level 2 tools, Project 13 methodologies and/or Gemini Principles, DFTG, CDBB or CLC work, MMC categories 3, 6 and 7a + 7b, or retrofit
  • target refurbishment and retrofit of built assets