Project delivery, smart contracts and property management

Construction apparatus

This theme encompasses the delivery of construction and infrastructure assets and property management, including the use of smart contracts.

Work within this theme is being funded by various funding organisations including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Department for International Development, the Newton Fund and charitable foundations.

Aim of research theme

The aim is to establish best practice and provide thought leadership. Research in this theme is undertaken in collaboration with industry and academic partners within the UK and internationally. This means better technology, improved operations and sound policy. As well as efficient investigation of practical issues across this theme.

Research streams

  • Procurement innovation including intelligent contracts
  • Process improvement and performance management
  • Property management
  • Alternative investment valuation
  • Property finance
  • Marine property rights
  • Occupational health, safety and well-being
  • Construction and infrastructure law
  • Ethics and professionalism
  • Skills/competencies
  • Supply chain integration.

Further information about our research streams

Construction and infrastructure law

The construction and property sector and the provision of infrastructure remain an integral part of the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In developed economies new infrastructure has to be delivered to replace or improve the aging stock. In the developing/emerging economies there is demand for new infrastructure to address the deficits.

The process of procurement of infrastructure from inception to occupation is fraught with numerous challenges and unenviable outcomes including:

  • resource constraints
  • dysfunctional teams
  • inefficient processes and tools/technologies
  • waste
  • adverse environmental impacts
  • legal bottlenecks
  • unethical practices; and
  • dire occupational safety and health consequences. 

Procurement innovation

Advances in technology have resulted in a fast changing landscape for construction contracts. Lawyers struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation, the need to provide legal solutions and accommodate new approaches.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become part of the common parlance in construction, notwithstanding limited evidence of its impact on the ground. Intelligent contracts appear as a logical extension to BIM whereby the contractual performance itself becomes automated.

Alternative investment valuation

Commercial real estate as an element of the UK economy has a market value of £1.6 billion. This sector drives everything from commerce, to employee wellbeing, to sustainability. The practical application to research in this area can have dramatic consequences in everyday life.

Alternative property investments also play a major role and is finding its way into areas as diverse as long term residential accommodation and fishing quota. Monitoring the development of these sectors is vitally important to understand their broader impacts on investment and society.

For further information about this theme, please contact Dr Patrick Manu, Dr Jim Mason, and Dr Thomas Appleby.

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