Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

News

Atkins CEO: AI and digital twins key to industry recovery

25 August 2020
Richard Robinson Atkins CEO

Construction’s covid-19 recovery should seek to “harness data, AI and digital twins”, says the Atkins CEO for UK and Europe, Richard Robinson.

In Atkins’ latest Infrastructure Insights report, which surveyed nearly 400 public and private sector industry leaders, Robinson said: “The report asks what more the private sector can do to aid recovery… and highlights the importance of digital innovation in accelerating projects and ensuring that we build back smarter as well as better.”

The former HS2 chief operating officer, who joined Atkins in October 2019, added: “For me, this represents an incredible opportunity for our industry to help shape the UK’s recovery by harnessing data, AI and digital twins to give us greater certainty when delivering projects. It’s no secret that we need to transform how we design and build to improve productivity and offer greater predictability – the evidence is there for all to see when projects are delayed or costs spiral.

“Respondents expect big changes in the infrastructure sector following Covid-19. There is general agreement that the sector will not emerge from the crisis in the same form, with digital innovation and working from home playing a much bigger part than before. Effectively adopting digital innovation in particular is seen as crucial to accelerating growth.”

Some 95% of the survey respondents stated that digital innovation will be increasingly important after the Covid-19 crisis.

Nearly two-thirds want to see digital innovations from the design, engineering and consultancy sector to help support their organisation during the Covid-19 crisis and recovery. Asked what actions would accelerate their business’s growth, more than a third said effective adoption of new digital technology, which was second only to increased government investment in infrastructure.