Advanced Construction Training Centre – Coventry University

The National Centre for Advanced Construction Technology (ACT-UK), based at Coventry University, is a newly established construction management simulation centre. The aim of this research is to investigate the possible role of ACT-UK in the undergraduate Building degree curriculum at Coventry University. Case study methods are adopted and include questionnaire surveys and interviews of construction employers, students and academics to develop a proposal for the possible use of the new simulation centre. The analysis indicates a high degree of enthusiasm for the use of the new simulation centre, but also raises issues regarding its cost and the ease with which it can be embedded into the current curriculum. Following on from the analysis, an outline of a programme that meets the needs of all parties is presented. The case study offers a lesson for the adoption of an innovative new learning technology to enhance the student learning experience within a higher education context.

Through cutting-edge 3D simulation, the multi-million-pound centre – which was built in partnership between Coventry University, ACT and Advantage West Midlands – is able to create ‘immersive’ virtual construction sites to train workers in a safe, true-to-life environment with realistic site management situations.

Industry-leading construction firm Balfour Beatty uses the facility to train its workforce and showcase of how the centre can be used to boost trainees’ experience and decision-making skills, without the risks associated with on-site work.

BLP Members were instrumental in developing the first interactive training programs for site managers, plus the planning and financial whole life costing with discounted cash flows of the training centre.