• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £2 million in feasibility studies to explore new ways of increasing collaboration and improving the flow of information throughout the construction supply chain. 

  • Programme: Feasibility studies

  • Award: Up to £2m

  • Opens: 09 Mar 2015, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 22 Apr 2015, 12:00

  • Closes: 29 Apr 2015, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Supply chain integration in construction

Competition results

See the competition results here.


****NEWS FLASH - Registration date has changed to 22 April 2015 noon and close date to 29 April 2015 noon****

Innovate UK is to invest up to £2 million in feasibility studies to explore new ways of increasing collaboration and improving the flow of information throughout the construction supply chain. 


Our aim is to address problems arising from the fragmented nature of the industry. With so many layers of sub-contractors and suppliers, construction clients too often find themselves divorced from those who deliver projects on-site. 


This lack of integration within the supply chain is leading to lost opportunities for innovation. We are therefore seeking proposals that will encourage the creation of more integrated, collaborative supply chains in this sector. 


These feasibility studies must be business-led. Projects are open to companies of any size working in collaboration. Small businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%. 


We expect projects to last 6 to 12 months with total costs ranging from £50,000 to £150,000, although we may consider larger projects. 


This competition opens on 9 March 2015. The deadline for registration is at noon on 22 April 2015 and the deadline for applications is at noon on 29 April 2015. A briefing day for potential applicants will be held in Bristol on 19 March 2015


We are holding a consortium-building workshop in Birmingham on 27 January 2015


The construction industry needs to innovate if it is to meet customer demand for higher performance and to become a modern industry. 


However, lack of integration within the supply chain is leading to lost opportunities for innovation. This weakness was highlighted in the joint strategy by government and industry, Construction 2025 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/construction-2025-strategy). 


Poor flow of information and a lack of collaborative behaviour in the supply chain are the chief obstacles to innovation. The root causes are the fragmented nature of the industry and the use of inadequate information management systems. 


The industry has made some progress in addressing these shortcomings through: 

  • collaborative contract clauses 
  • centres of excellence and knowledge exchange 
  • project structures that evolve the traditional client-consultant-contractor relationship into a more integrated structure 
  • earlier engagement of the supply chain, for instance for design. 


The industry comprises more than 280,000 companies employing up to 3 million workers. The challenge is to bring together those companies that add value in a way that ensures the whole is more than the sum of the parts.


Applicants could consider the environmental and social aspects influencing the market, incorporated within our free-to-use Horizons tool: http://horizons.innovateuk.org/


Feasibility studies must develop new areas of knowledge and could include the development of new products, services or processes. 


They should include market research and work on assembling collaborative partnerships in preparation for further development of the project. 


Proposals must focus on increasing value to the customer, both in delivery and the end product. They should consider the fragmented nature of the industry, the flow of information and the challenge of building integrated supply chains. 


In developing new areas of knowledge around improved information flow and better collaboration in construction, studies might consider the following examples of outcomes and benefits: 

  • enabling more design to be completed before construction, considering issues such as regulatory control, finance, insurance, and needs of suppliers and users 
  • making innovation more visible, promoting the benefits of novel technologies or approaches 
  • introducing expertise from manufacturing and other sectors to aid delivery and operation, of an individual building or piece of infrastructure or of a portfolio of assets 
  • developing new practices for coordinating procurement and delivery, based on shared problem solving, systems engineering and collaborative working 
  • life-cycle information management technologies, products and services that provide data to specifiers and designers from commissioning, operation, post-occupancy evaluation and feedback, end-users and building sensor systems 
  • solutions for mapping or managing staff and materials, to address peaks and troughs in demand or supply.


Out of scope are proposals that replicate work on BIM (building information modelling) by the BIM Task Group, such as the BIM collaboration forums, Level 2 BIM classification system, or the digital toolkit. 


Further information on topics in this brief, plus free resources and opportunities to find collaborators are available from the built environment group on _connect. https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/modernbuiltktn


Looking for partners to work on your project? Go to our Supply Chain Integration in Construction page on _connect https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/scic

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £2 million to fund feasibility studies (or pre-industrial research) in this competition. 


Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and size and type of organisation involved. 


Projects must be business-led and collaborative. The amount of funding you can receive varies according to the size and type of organisation and type of research being done. Small businesses are eligible to receive up to 70% of their project costs as grant, medium-sized business 60%, and large business 50%. For further information see https://interact.innovateuk.org/-/funding-rules


We expect total project costs to range from £50,000 to £150,000. Projects should last up to 12 months. You may benefit from including partners from digital, manufacturing, financial, insurance, facilities management and system design sectors. 


To find out whether your business fits the EU definition of an SME, see: http://ec.europa.eu/small-business/faq/index_en.htm


Innovate UK also runs regular Collaboration Nation events. They enable companies that have been successful in feasibility studies competitions to showcase the results of their projects to their peers and others, with a view to finding new partners to collaborate with and new sources of funding. For more information search for ‘Collaboration Nation directories' on www.innovateuk.gov.uk

Application process

This competition will open on 9 March 2015. Applicants must first register via our website, and the deadline for registration is at noon on 22 April 2015. The deadline for applications is at noon on 29 April 2015


A briefing will be held in Bristol on 19 March 2015 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend. To register for this event, go to https://connect.innovateuk.org/events 


Note: all deadlines are at noon. 

More information

To apply you must first register with us through this competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for applications.

Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357

Email: support@innovateuk.gov.uk


Help for SMEs to grow faster 


Small businesses that combine the funding they receive from us with additional business support are more likely to grow faster. If you are an SME and receive funding through this competition, you will automatically gain access to a growth workshop, an online diagnostic and a growth expert to help you develop a growth plan. This may include coaching, mentoring and entrepreneurial skills training. 


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public.

E-mail pressoffice@innovateuk.gov.uk with any queries. 

Key dates

Competition opens: 9 March 2015 

Competition briefing in Bristol: 19 March 2015 

Registration deadline: 22 April 2015 noon 

Deadline for receipt of applications: 29 April 2015 noon