Rebar 4.0: Supply chain made smarter


The main objectives of the UK Government's Construction Sector Deal are to build better homes and infrastructure projects that are more efficient, smarter and safer while reducing emissions and providing cleaner air at the same time. Over the past few years, some of these requirements have already been successfully addressed thanks to the application of the very latest advancements in collaborative 3D design and digital data management known as Building Information Modelling (BIM) across engineering and construction companies in the UK. However, the remainder of the supply chain which includes subcontractors, manufacturers, fabricators and trades people are still relying mostly on paper-based processes and 2D engineering drawings to deliver projects that have already been designed in 3D.

Particularly, the management and installation of reinforcing steel (rebar) which is a significant structural part of all concrete pours on any major project is complex with many parties and stakeholders. At each stage in the supply chain, steel is transferred from one company to another what may result in the loss of material identity and the use of material of dubious or unknown origin, and hence of unknown properties and performance. This requires effective management of the supply chain if construction projects are to be delivered on time, on budget and to the required quality with reliable estimation of the amount of embedded carbon within.

Such complexities, combined with the ongoing pandemic, provide a need for digital innovation and optimisation solutions. Therefore, our aim over the next 6 months is to establish the feasibility of a digital management of reinforcing steel testing, tracking and tracing as well as validation/assurance of designed versus delivered rebar in construction that will be driven by the existing 3D models from structural engineering all the way to robotic-driven fabrication and digitally verified installation on site.

"Rebar 4.0: Supply chain made smarter" embraces a collaborative approach from all stakeholders in the reinforcing steel value chain to digitise the whole process. It enables digital compliance checking and delivers a true digital twin representation of the built environment for handover.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Uk Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels £125,300 £ 87,710


Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies (Gb) Limited £147,608 £ 88,565
Buro Happold Engineers Limited, Bath £98,946 £ 49,473
3D Repo Ltd, London £125,161 £ 87,613


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