Digital Construction Awards 2024: AtkinsRéalis’s Virtual Site Access wins Best Application of Technology

AtkinsRéalis wins Best Application of Technology at the Digital Construction Awards 2024
The AtkinsRéalis team collect their trophy from Ollie Hughes (left), Dr Melanie Robinson (second right) for Digital Construction North, and Tom Allen (right) (Photo © 2024 – ASV Photography Ltd.

AtkinsRéalis’s Virtual Site Access won the Best Application of Technology, sponsored by Digital Construction North, at the Digital Construction Awards last night (2 July).

In the nuclear industry, sites are predominantly situated away from areas of high population and therefore effective transport links. This, when combined with the necessary security restrictions (training, clearance), makes accessing these sites difficult.

Category sponsor

Added to these site access issues are the inherent risks of the nature of the sites, both conventional and radiological. Furthermore, data security and information assurance also restrict people from being able to visualise the site. Therefore, a considerable number of people working in construction design are limited in their understanding of the configuration and constraints that will affect the decisions they make.

These obstacles led AtkinsRéalis to develop Virtual Site Access, enabling anyone to manage and visualise a physical site remotely. VSA puts project data to work to deliver the information needed to make the right decisions, at the right time, from anywhere.

VSA brings together industry-standard tools, technology and techniques alongside innovative bespoke applications and leading-edge technologies such as quadrupedal robotics, Microsoft HoloLens 2, Igloo Vision immersive spaces and cloud-based systems to deliver significant time, cost and carbon savings, as well reducing risks and aiding in collaboration and global knowledge transfer.

Between March 2023 and February 2024, the technology saved 20,118 hours of travel, an estimated £1.2m in costs (based on agreed client metrics), and 296,585kg of CO2, while also substantially reducing personnel radiation exposure.

“A very detailed and comprehensive approach to a complex environment. Good use of ‘low level’ entry for training and adoption ensuing a successful implementation.”

What the judges said

AtkinsRéalis cited an example of the application of VSA in which the team carried out a building inspection remotely while streaming the visuals live to a project team in an offsite location. The team were able to communicate with the operators in real-time for a bespoke inspection. The building was classified as ‘no person entry’, so the team used a quadrupedal robot, wireless mesh network, and secure live streaming technology to complete the mission. This inspection allowed the project to progress on what had previously been a stalled task.

George Wormald-Kelly, digital implementation lead at AtkinsRéalis, said: "It was exciting to even be nominated for this award. This is something that we have been working on for a number of years – it’s a combination of a variety of different technologies that we’ve rolled together into a single product. There’s a defined output: it saves us travel time, allows us to reduce the number of people on site and, ultimately, reduces the amount of carbon that we’re emitting due to travel."

  • AtkinsRéalis | Virtual Site Access
  • AtkinsRéalis-WSP JV | A83 Rest and Be Thankful
  • EDF UK/Accenture/Dassault Systèmes | Digital Twin Implementation at Hinkley Point C
  • Fit For Work
  • Heathrow/AtkinsRéalis/Mace/Trimble/WSP | Heathrow Airport cargo tunnel refurbishment
  • Integrated Health Projects/Buildots | Royal Bournemouth Hospital
  • Laing O’Rourke/Asite/Edocuments | Olympia Redevelopment
  • L Lynch | Revolutionising On-Site Safety with VR Training
  • Method Grid | The Digital PACE Framework with Network Rail
  • Winvic | AI-Enabled Combined Noise and Dust Monitor
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