All across the world, governments have been gearing up for large investments in it’s’ infrastructure. Whether it be for nominal improvements to infrastructure that needs some maintenance, major repairs, and in trying circumstances, all out replacement. These projects are occurring all over the world, in new countries and those that have been around for centuries, like the United Kingdom. There is and will continue to be huge infrastructure development in Britain, backed by a $460 billion pound program outlined in the Infrastructure plan.
In Fact, infrastructure investment is such an important aspect of the UK economy that as of January 1st, 2016 a new government body has been developed to help manage and deliver major projects for the UK economy. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority, as it is known, will provide expert support for the government’s major economic projects. This brought together two existing bodies, Infrastructure UK and the Major Projects Authority.
These projects will range from the Cross rail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel to major transformation programs such as Universal Credit. With high-end and costly projects like these and more, methodologies and systems are adjusted through innovation to provide durable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure for future generations.
According to the National Infrastructure pipeline factsheet, the infrastructure pipeline consists of projects and programs within the Energy, Transport, and Waste, Flood Defense, Communications, Water and Science and research sectors. Within these sectors there are 564 projects and programs with funding coming from the public and private sector, as well as those with a mixture of the two. The two largest sectors are the Energy and Transport sectors, which will be accounting for 91% of the pipeline’s total value.
That being said, there are enormous engineering challenges ahead. According to a study in 2015, there is a skilled worker shortfall which may result in under qualified workers making the decisions with the infrastructure. Some of these decisions could result in infrastructure projects being compromised, which would negatively affect the state of the UK’s economy when the reverse is supposed to happen.
Poor infrastructure construction has a negative impact on a countries global competitiveness insofar as the relative attractiveness for business outside of the country lowers. Project delivery on infrastructure is of the utmost importance for the UK who currently sits 9th in the world in global competitiveness and wouldn’t want to see that drop. In fact, growth is where the aim is in building infrastructure.
To do so, better building with a strict focus on durable construction materials and methods is of the utmost importance. An economy cannot improve competitiveness if the investment dollars used to boost the economy are wasted. With regards to infrastructure, the waste would be seen if the original
construction practices used to produce the structures in the Energy and Transport sectors require round the clock maintenance to make work. If this were to occur, the projects could run deficits and the global outlook on the infrastructure, which will hinder competitiveness and the economy.
This is true for any country going through major infrastructure investment. Building wisely with durable construction systems must be top-of-mind to navigate the engineering challenges brought about through large infrastructure investment. Thus, it is vitally important to bring innovation solutions to these engineering issues. Modern day challenges require these innovative solutions in order to provide wider positive effects on the industry and countries as a whole, like the United Kingdom.
More information on the state of infrastructure projects and spending can be found at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority website.