Training centre with high-tech simulators is due to open in Coventry next year

Coventry University has signed a deal to set up a virtual-reality construction management training centre, believed to be the first in the UK.

The Centre for Advanced Construction Technologies will develop future construction managers' skills through realistic experience in a virtual setting, saving costly on-site mistakes.

It will feature a simulator not unlike those used for training pilots, with an 11m x 3.5m parabolic virtual reality screen on which real UK projects will be displayed.

There will also be a mock construction site featuring professional actors to help give trainees a realistic experience of live management issues on site.

Coventry University Enterprises has received a grant of £6.3m from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands to build the centre, which is part of the university's technology park.

Shaylor Construction of Birmingham is due to start work on the site in Puma Way at the end of this year. Completion is planned for next year.

The centre will be operated by Advanced Construction Technologies UK (ACT-UK), which has been funded by investors and supporters from the construction industry. Its managing director, Michiel Schrijvr, previously set up a similar facility in the Netherlands.

ACT-UK's chairman, Clive Benfield, said: “We are all absolutely elated. It has been an interesting time and hard work pulling all the aspects together and very positive to see how the construction industry is backing us so wholeheartedly. ACT-UK can now provide a unique management training experience.”