Transforming UK construction: MMC, digital and whole-life performance

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million for collaborative R&D projects that improve productivity, quality and performance in UK construction.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £10 million

Opens: 28th Aug 2019

Closes: 30th Oct 2019

! This scheme is now closed


The aim of this competition is to invest in innovative projects that go beyond the current state-of-the-art. Projects must result in practical and close-to-market solutions that will improve productivity, quality and performance in the UK construction sector.


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

Your project must focus on one or more of these themes:

Digital methods – Technology to deliver better, more certain results during the design, construction and operation of a building or infrastructure asset. These must increase asset availability, lifespan and maximise performance.

Modern methods of construction (MMC) and platform based approaches – Products, services and methods to increase the pre-manufactured value(PMV) of construction projects using MMC. This includes the preferred approach to building infrastructure, called a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA). This is a modern method of construction which is a specific form of design for manufacture and assembly.

Approaches must show an increase in productivity and delivery, minimise inefficiencies, waste and delays, and enable production in parallel with site preparation.

Projects addressing these themes must demonstrate compatibility with platform approaches already developed under the programme and specified by the Department for Education. You must communicate with the Construction Innovation Hub and its partners to determine this.

Whole-life performance – Shifting focus from the costs of construction to the value of a building or asset across its entire life-cycle, particularly in relation to the use of energy.

Business models, procurement, analytics, benchmarking and metrics – New business models and procurement methods. These enable the transformation of the sector towards MMC, supported by analytics of demand and supply chain capacity, benchmarking and sector metrics.

Financial, assurance, warranty and lending – New products to assure lending and warranty provision across buildings, homes and infrastructure that use MMC. Services and products that increase the adoption of MMC and encourage whole-life performance.

Innovate UK welcome innovative and ambitious partnerships, and encourage teams to include:

  • Project 13 methodologies and/or Gemini Principles
  • client and supply chain relationships
  • government departments and arm’s length bodies listed in the TIP strategy or TIES
  • Construction Leadership Council (CLC) members and work programme members
  • i3P and BuildOffsite members and programmes
  • Active Building Centre and its partners
  • Construction Innovation Hub and its partners
  • Infrastructure Clients Group members
  • manufacturing and DFMA experts
  • financial lenders, assurance or warranty providers
  • digital systems developers, including data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI)
  • cyber security expertise
  • exceptional leaders and communicators who can inform and inspire people and investors


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 £10 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £150,000 and £1.5 million.

Your project must start on 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 of project costs in the 2020/2021 financial year. Your project’s 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