Atkins teams up with AI startup to transform project delivery

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Partnership with nPlan to explore new data driven contracting models for major project delivery

Atkins has formed a partnership with Artificial Intelligence technology start up nPlan to explore new contracting models driven by technology and data which could transform major project delivery across the industry.

The work – which will be supported through funding from Innovate UK – brings together Atkins’ project delivery experience and nPlan’s machine learning technology to identify and assess a new approach to contracting that focuses on collaboration, and changes the way risk is measured, shared and managed across major infrastructure programmes.

nPlan machine learning technology uses multiple techniques to learn how projects perform. At a high level, the algorithm learns by comparing the individual activities in a baseline schedule to activities in an actualised schedule. This process is repeated hundreds of millions of times building out a knowledge base of project performance which, according to Atkins, will allow for impartial and collective forecasting, increased transparency between project partners and a shared, improved view of project risk.

The team will work alongside asset owners such as Heathrow Airport to analyse the current contracting models before developing and piloting data and technology driven alternatives over the next 12 months. Findings will be shared in autumn 2021 and published in an open industry report.

“The industry has historically been slow to adopt new technology, in part due to the risk and rewards mechanisms of its contracting models,” said Richard Robinson, Atkins UK & Europe CEO. “As such, there needs to be a step-change if we’re going to unlock and encourage innovation which can serve to increase the predictability of project performance and deliver whole-life value to ensure better returns on investment for our clients.”

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