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6 INDUSTRY NEWS


Construction must embrace AI, says RICS


A paper exploring the impact of utilising artificial intelligence (AI) in the built environment, and the urgent need for industry professionals to understand how it will influence their role, has been launched by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). One sector that the Artificial Intelligence in the Built Environment Paper highlights as facing a significant impact of AI is facilities management (FM). With the labour intensive and repetitive nature of many FM jobs, it can be an ideal opportunity for the automation of previously human dominated tasks. However, the report weighs up the positives and negatives of such changes, and how companies should deal with them. Paul Bagust, RICS global property standards director, said: “FM will always have a vital role to play within the built environment, and even though many operational roles will become more technology-led, the sector could benefit hugely from AI at a strategic level. “For example, machinery – utilising AI – will revolutionise the FM industry, making many jobs faster, safer, less costly, and this will ultimately improve a company’s service offering and increase their bottom line.” He added: “Technology and the availability of data is also changing the way investors look for opportunities and invest. This will present a huge threat to the industry if ignored, but again, it presents


so many opportunities for those who work in the built environment. So all businesses, however large or small, must act now and analyse and prepare for how this disruptive technology could transform their role, their sector, and the wider built environment. Otherwise they face becoming obsolete.”


PM hosts housing supply meeting with industry heads


Prime Minister Theresa May has hosted a meeting at 10 Downing Street attended by housebuilders, housing associations and local government representatives to discuss the housing crisis.


Attendees ranged from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Housing Minister Alok Sharma, to housebuilder CEOs, including Peter Redfern of Taylor Wimpey and David Thomas of Barratt Developments.


May reportedly emphasised the Government’s ambition to tackle the broken housing market, with home ownership moving increasingly out of reach for many.


She outlined her plans to increase housing supply, indicating that those in the industry had to ‘step up’ to play their part. Other issues addressed included making the most of modern methods of construction such as modular housing, having the skilled workers necessary, helping SMEs to grow, and ensuring planning permissions granted by councils are delivered into new homes.


A Downing Street spokesperson said the attendees were given “an opportunity to set out their ideas and commitments, as well as the actions needed to remove the barriers they were facing in building new homes.” The spokesperson concluded: “They also discussed some of the recent measures taken by government, including enabling 130,000 more families to get on the housing ladder through the £10bn Help to Buy scheme and an additional £2bn for affordable housing.


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“It was a positive and collaborative meeting, which needs to signal a step change in housebuilding if we are to build a country that truly works for everyone.”


Garden towns get £2.5m boost


A £2.5m cash boost to speed up the delivery of over 155,000 new homes across England has been announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. Nine locally-led ‘garden town’ developments, from Bicester to Taunton, will each receive new funding to fast track building.


The new funding is intended to support local authorities and communities in delivering ambitious proposals, speeding up the progress of developments through additional dedicated resources and expertise.


Sajid Javid commented: “Locally-led garden towns have enormous potential to deliver homes that communities need. This new funding will help support the construction of more than 155,000 homes in nine places across the country. “New communities not only deliver homes, but also bring new jobs and facilities, and a big boost to local economies.” The nine garden towns are in Bicester,


Didcot, Basingstoke, Otterpool Park in Kent, Aylesbury, Taunton, Harlow-Gilston, North Northamptonshire and North Essex.


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