Press Release

Balfour Beatty predicts a human free construction site with the launch of its latest paper “Innovation 2050: A Digital Future for the Infrastructure industry”

27 June 2017


Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has today published its paper “Innovation 2050: A Digital Future for the Infrastructure Industry”.

The construction site of 2050 will be in stark contrast to what we see today – it will be
human-free with work moved off-site, remote control of machinery and new materials and techniques exploited to improve cost, safety and efficiency.

While Balfour Beatty’s prediction for a human-free construction site may seem far-fetched, technology has already revolutionised contemporary life to such an extent that it’s not so hard to imagine radical changes for construction not least the emergence of new roles and the requirement and evolution of new skills to support delivery of the future pipeline of construction projects.

In its latest paper Balfour Beatty sets out to examine the pace and rate of change within the industry, with digital technology the catalyst and driver to such change; change that is already happening and is inevitable.

Exploring how business strategies will change, productivity levels will improve, and required skills will evolve, the paper presents how technology will:

  • Help to bridge the skills gap by creating jobs, roles and industries that don’t yet exist and attracting younger generations to our industry, ultimately leading to a more agile workforce with new skills
  • Benefit all stakeholders through increased productivity, improved efficiency and increased value and quality while helping to bridge the skills gap and up-skill our workforce
  • Enable us to deliver projects for the public more efficiently and effectively through the use of such technology as Building Information Modelling, augmented and virtual reality, cloud data storage, telematics, drones and data analytics

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said, “We are experiencing a digital revolution, redefining how we as an industry operate; becoming faster, better and more agile. By adopting and embracing the rise of digital solutions we are more able to deliver efficient, effective and safer solutions to our clients and customers.

“These changes will mean we have to ensure our industry trains our current and future employees with the skills to exploit the use of new technology, new materials and new methods of working.

“Balfour Beatty has made significant progress in its vision to become a truly digitally empowered business, developing our internal capabilities, collaborating across our supply chain and partnering with the best technologically creative minds enabling us to be bold in the adoption of new and emerging technologies”.  

To read the paper in full, please click here and get involved in the conversation using #expertengineers.

Only have a few minutes to spare? Tune in to hear a quick audio overview of the paper here.


Media enquiries to:

Antonia Walton
Balfour Beatty

+44 (0)207 963 2150 | follow us @balfourbeatty


All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or


Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 30,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
  • Our main geographies are the UK, US and South East Asia. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
  • We rely on cutting-edge technology to design, build and maintain our portfolio of diverse projects. ‘Digital’ is integral to the business, allowing the company to innovate and implement improvements in efficiency, quality and safety.
  • Our in-house expert capabilities encompass a variety of digital services and are applied across the whole lifecycle of a project. Technology deployed includes augmented and virtual reality; Building Information Modelling (BIM); drones; 3D printing; cloud data storage; telematics and data analytics. Seamlessly integrated into the business, the use of technology enables Balfour Beatty employees to work more productively, more effectively and efficiently, as well as more safely.
Avatar for Media Team

Media Team

+44 (0)203 810 2345