Birmingham is set to build upon its hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2022 to become an example of how technology, skills and talent can enhance living and working in modern cities.
The city will host one of the world’s biggest multi-sport events from 27 July to 7 August 2022, stepping in to replace Durban when the South Africa city was stripped of the event in 2017. But since London hosted the 2012 Olympics, ‘legacy’ has become the watchword for hosting an event of this magnitude, and not just in terms of sporting facilities.
Housing and infrastructure plus points
Work on building the athletes village on the former site of the Birmingham City University campus in Perry Barr (pictured) was green-lit in late 2018. Following the event, which has been tipped to generate £500 million for the local economy, the village will be converted into over 1,100 accommodation units but will be just one of a number of benefits felt by the city.
The games are not the only major project that is getting under way in the area, with high-speed rail link HS2 set to arrive in the city by 2026. Curzon Street will see the first new mainline station built in the UK for over 100 years, while the local train and tram network is set to be upgraded
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Birmingham City Council have outlined how technology, skills and talent must be harnessed to help deliver Birmingham’s ambitions. RICS have found that the Midlands suffers from the worst shortage of quantity surveyors in the UK, while matching the rest of the country for a shortage of other skilled professionals, including architects and civil engineers.
RICS and the city council were at the recent Building Brum networking event where Neil Carney, the council’s Programme Director for Birmingham 2022, commented: “The long-term legacy for Birmingham’s citizens and communities is the reason why we at the forefront of the successful bid to bring the Games to the city and the wider West Midlands.
“Birmingham 2022 gives us a fantastic platform to promote the city and wider region to the world, showcasing the best of who we are and what we do and creating opportunities for longer term trade, investment and tourism.”
Data and technology are key
“If we are to harness the potential the event offers for us, we need to ensure the skills base is in place along with the necessary technology and infrastructure to ensure we gain the full benefit of the sustainable growth the Commonwealth Games can enable.”
Ben Senior, Project Director at Arcadis and RICS Young Surveyor of the Year for Project Management, adds: “Companies are already disrupting the way they work by using existing technologies such as Virtual Reality, Photogrammetry and Generative and Parametric Design, as well as drones and 3D printing to deliver projects to the client quicker and in a full 360 perspective.
“However, it will be technologies like data analytics and machine learning that will transform how future businesses operate. The use of data will be instrumental to provide clients and projects deeper insights into building and reshaping our cities.”
— Building Brum (@BuildingBrum) January 31, 2019