Research & development
By embracing technological trends and monitoring key drivers of our industry, the Research and Development network contributes to the overall goals of Skanska and its commitment in shaping a better built environment.
The main task of the Research & Development unit is to act as an umbrella organization for transferring knowledge of technical solutions and innovations between the various Skanska units and to coordinate technical experts and expertise within the company.
What we do
Operations in 2015 were based on the current work plan and its focus areas: gathering and transferring knowledge, internal and external networks of experts, technology, trends and innovations, as well as the identification of technical risks.
Work was also focused on supporting Skanska's new business plan with technology, for instance regarding automation and robotization of important parts of the construction process. A demo robot was produced and simulations carried out to show the opportunities and advantages of using robots. In order to execute an automated way of working, a digital 3D BIM model is required as input to the robots. In the future, this will mean greater importance is placed on project design being fully complete before actual construction is started. The areas in which Skanska has tested automation are reinforcement, 3D printers, welding and drilling in buildings and tunnels.
Collaboration with academia
Today, Skanska collaborates with around 40 universities in its
various home markets. In Sweden, the exclusive partnership with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has brought about progress in a number of
key areas. Skanska is involved in the formation of two competence centers at KTH – one for road construction and one for building efficiency. Skanska is also on the board of two state-subsidized initiatives in the construction industry, Smart Built Environment and InfraSweden2030. A uniform, coordinated approach means Skanska applies for EU funding in an organized, long-term way.
The R&D unit is responsible for administration and recruitment of adjunct professors. In 2015 Skanska had five adjunct professors, in the areas of energy, concrete, tunnel engineering, bridge building, building efficiency and climate impact. The Group aims to double the number of adjunct professors within strategically important areas over the coming five-year period.
Skanska's Research and Development network (R&D) has the vision to be a world leading Construction and Development company with respect to technical competence. We want to enhance Skanska's ability to stay ahead of our competitors as a leading project developer and contractor, known for sustainability, professional knowledge management and innovation.
Our strategy is to focus our activities around four main areas:
1. Technical support
R&D provides Skanska’s business units with support and advice in technical issues of exceptional character within projects. We also provide internal educational programs through seminars and courses.
2. Networks & experts
R&D has a network of experts, both externally and internally, to spread knowledge and promote know-how.
The R&D network consists of business unit representatives who can contribute with information on solutions and innovations implemented in ongoing projects. The scope of the networks is quite broad as new solutions and innovation take place in all fronts. Activities encompass areas such as energy efficiency, moisture problems, roads and underground construction.
Contacts with universities around the world
We have contacts with 54 universities in 10 different countries such as Stanford University, Duke, The Royal Institute of Technology and Loughborough. Our academic network includes a number of Skanska employees who are either working as visiting professors or doing post graduate work in different universities. Furthermore, the network also includes the universities and institutions with which we are currently having cooperation projects and renowned scientists in areas of our interest who are able to provide a global perspective.
3. Risk management
R&D does reviews of high risk structures to avoid collapses, specifically:
- Roof structures
- Elevated walkways
- Non-concrete or non-steel bridges
4. Research & Development
We participate in R&D projects that promote innovation in the main segments of our activities – civil engineering, buildings and material issues. Below are some examples of the type of activities in which Skanska is involved:
- National programs in Norway, e.g. The Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) which aims at eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings, such as Powerhouse Kjørbo; work with innovative process through the Construction Innovation program in Sweden.
- Green solutions in which energy conservation and climate change have been central. An example is our Deep Green Cooling system. This method allows the use of summer heat for preheating during winter and cold from the winter during summer. It is used in Skanska's headquarters in Stockholm, Entré Lindhagen.
- Knowledge development in Skanska's technical base regarding areas such as facades, concrete, problems with moisture problems and virtual environments.
- Installations focusing on air-treatment units and effects on indoor climate and air quality in buildings.
- Industrialization where the implementation of new processes such as BIM (Building Information Modeling), VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) and "lean" were central.
Learn more about our R&D projects.