A research project that is expected to revolutionise the building industry has won the University of South Australia (UniSA) one of only eight ARUP Global Research Grants.

The project proposed by the UniSA research team included the delivery of an innovative product-service system business model that would make it easy to change and adapt buildings – even once built – via a 'cloud data platform'. The revolutionary platform would link physical components to virtual models.

The UniSA research team, led by Adjunct Associate Professor David Ness, pitched the idea as part of ARUP's Global Research Challenge. 

UniSA’s project will not only create new business opportunities in the service sector, but also derive more value from built resources by their reuse, adaptation and lifecycle stewardship.

The Global Research Challenge is staged every year by ARUP – a research-driven international firm of designers, planners, engineers and technical specialists – as part of their mission to develop and support ideas that will contribute to 'a better world'.

This year two themes were presented as part of the challenge: 'Application and impact of machine learning on/in the built environment' and 'Adaptation of circular economy principles on/in built environment projects'. The 2017 initiative drew submissions from 120 applicants worldwide.

The project's team leader, David Ness, says the concept for the project arose from the team’s previous research on smart, reusable components, product-service system solutions and resource efficiency. Clear goals were outlined from the beginning of the research process, and included reducing building waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new business opportunities.

The proposed cloud enhanced-system could hypothetically be adopted across a broad cross-section of the building industry, thereby facilitating waste reduction and appropriate reuse of materials on a mass scale.

ARUP is investing almost $78,000 in the project, which will be supplemented by a UniSA 'cash and in-kind' contribution.

From now, the team at the university will be working closely with ARUP – and in particular ARUP's project manager and Adelaide office leader, John Haese – to see the research through to completion.