Innovation Director, Michael Pelken, discusses why he feels Keltbray is leading the change in the industry.

In the built environment, the creation of technologically progressive, environmentally groundbreaking or economically disruptive solutions for contemporary urban problems have been compromised by slow innovation cycles.

While it is acknowledged that we need radical change in order to address issues of energy use, climate change, and building life cycle, our industry is facing limited progress in all areas, from design to construction, to the operation of our built environment.
Keltbray has been determined to change this for a long time with great success, and we understand that we need to further improve the way we develop and deploy new ideas and better ways of working.

Driven by multiple policy and practice as well as environmental trends, sustainability is acknowledged as a key driver for needed innovation. We are committed to sustainable practice models, and the creation of environmentally friendly, integrated solutions that address energy conservation and the complexity of holistic systems thinking.

At Keltbray’s own risk and acknowledged through large Qualifying Expenses in HMRC’s Research and Development rebate scheme, the business has continuously embraced innovation on multiple levels across the group. Fully aligned with Construction 2025 ambitions and the UK’s Industrial Strategy, we are breaking the mould of established views towards delivery. We are rethinking our offers and how the industry operates, and are developing a range of distinct approaches towards project delivery, product development and process optimisation. We are progressing a vast array of forward thinking initiatives across the group, spanning from sophisticated design and engineering methods, to the use of new materials, to novel construction methods, to the development of bespoke machinery, plant, and even project management platforms like Keltbray’s Integrated Piling Software (KIPS).

Built environment professionals from all sectors and levels of seniority are greatly positioned to innovate. But, they are also members of a risk-averse community of practice that cannot tolerate failure for policy, safety, operational and financial reasons, amongst many others. However, a design experiment cannot produce innovative solutions if failure has been excluded to begin with. In order to overcome such obstacles, we are working closely with our supply chain and collaborate with leading design, technology and research entities. Next to licensing IP from our academic partners that allows us to put great theoretical concepts into practice, we have our own patents pending for new methodologies and tools, have established new trademarks, and have built an Innovate UK grant funded portfolio of £1.1m.

We will further revisit established models and relationships of development, deployment and the dissemination of new knowledge, as well as key objectives that differ between academia and industry. This way, we will continue to create short, mid and longer term impact for Keltbray and its clients, and the industry at large.