UK infrastructure consultancies are looking at a new economic market. Within the last five years, new routes for trade and investment have opened up as never before. Large development and regeneration projects have changed the infrastructure landscape into the next decade.
Foreign investors are surveying the UK property market with a view to laying down firm roots across the main sectors: commercial and residential property development, engineering, construction and infrastructure. All of these areas represent high-value opportunities. They hold particular value for new consultants who can bridge a widening skills gap in the market. Technology is on the move but a lack of applied education is reportedly becoming more challenging to business delivery. As a result, think tanks, as well as commercial consulting firms, have begun to discuss the need for better knowledge and capability in infrastructure planning.
Recently published findings reveal that this newer, data-driven infrastructure market is valued at up to £4.8tn on a global scale. A new consultancy entering the market in the last decade could not have conceived of the potential of wealth creation in just one single sector.
Consultants starting-up and starting-out
The potential for business opportunities is significant for serious individuals willing to jump in and learn how intelligent data delivers smart infrastructure. The new success model for independent consultants is “big data is best”.
Start-ups can inform and transform projects and produce intelligent sustainable plans for future communities and entire cities. Data opens the door for the transformation of brownfield sites, to deliver urban archaeology projects and to plan the best possible transport links from
Start-ups can inform and transform projects and produce intelligent sustainable plans for future communities and entire cities. Data opens the door for the transformation of brownfield sites, to deliver urban archaeology projects and to plan the best possible transport links from road to rail to ports and airports.
Using your data to speak the language of business
At HM Land Registry, our polygon datasets allow the comparison of physical and legal boundaries on a proposed development site. This information is accessible when polygons (illustrating legal boundaries) are overlaid with Ordnance Survey information (showing the physical boundaries).
Alongside these intricate layers of data, planners are making the best use of building information modelling capability. For large commercial developers and local authorities, they can view a near perfect visual representation of the existing state of their development site. This offers efficient forecasting of labour, critical business planning and financial investment. Clients need consultants who can communicate value through accurate interpretation. The application of data is a precise science. Consultants can often work as creatively as they like but not in this area. Imprecise data can make or break a project and can (possibly) be career-limiting.
Getting up to speed to get in the race
You may be aware of discussions around ‘big data’ or ‘big picture’ data since the call went out for infrastructure professionals to adapt their approach to planning. This was a result of the Government Construction strategy. Now that the 2016 deadline has passed, you may have done one of two things: got up to speed with new technology, or thought, that’s ages away. I’ll get round to it.
If you adopted the latter approach, you may now be wondering how to keep opportunities fluid while trying to swat up on what seem to be endless techniques to apply data for 3D modelling. What’s even more daunting is that the use of building information modelling is mandatory for government contracts.
Benefit of experience on tap
This is all heady stuff but in practical terms, if it’s just you and your laptop, how are you planning your particular path and will you stand out with a unique business proposition? If you’re unsure, consider the training you’ve undertaken. Assess the strength of your skill set and identify any gaps which may hold you back.
In this last quarter of the financial year, you’ll see a few more blogs from me. Having been both a HM Land Registry surveyor and caseworker over the course of the past thirty years or so, I’ve been amazed at the scope for development in working with data in infrastructure planning and design. I’ve done my fair share of training as well as listening and learning.
I’ll be musing about this new infrastructure revolution until Q1. Check back. You never know what you might discover.