skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain


Below are some of the more frequently asked questions. We hope this answers you query. If not please feel free to contact us on

1.  What is the purpose of CDBB?

The purpose of the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) is to support the HM Government ambitions for a seamless transition from the achievements of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the Construction Strategy into an environment where technology as a system is second nature.   This will enable a thriving UK Digital Economy for the Built Environment, encouraging growth and competitiveness and facilitate dramatically better use of current and future infrastructure assets.

2.  Who are CDBB?

The University of Cambridge have been invited to host the Centre for Digital Built Britain, which will work in partnership with Government and industry to improve the performance, productivity and safety of construction through the better use of digital technologies

CDBB offers a dedicated research, development and market exploitation Centre of Excellence who are leading this ambitious programme bringing together expertise from industry and academia to support this next phase in the HM Government digitisation strategy.

3.  What is the HM Government role in CDBB?

The Government have announced the launch of a centre of excellence in Cambridge to champion the digital revolution in the built environment. The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to support the transformation of the construction sector using digital technologies to better plan, build, maintain and use infrastructure.

4.  Will there be any change to the current HM Government BIM Level 2 mandate?

No, the Level 2 BIM mandate for all centrally procured HM Government projects remains un-changed. 

5.  Will Level 2 BIM still be part of the CDBB Programme?

CDBB is committed to supporting the adoption of BIM Level 2 as business as usual and the evolution of the UK BIM Programme.

6.  We have heard mention of L2C what's that and where does BIM fit in?

The Level 2 Convergence (L2C) programme builds the bridge and shows data pathways from the existing Level 2 BIM world of those concerned with building and operating assets to the smart city data measurement, the world of services, consumers and the citizen (and vice versa).  This will prove how built assets will impact services and the citizen, and provide feedback to improve the planning and design process. It incorporates other plentiful information sources that exist in our smart cities using IoT and other methods to securely capture data. The aim is alignment of end to end data, standardising data services for the entire life cycle of assets, including service provision.

L2C also requires us to think about our current delivery model and how data driven advanced manufacturing using innovative technology can improve products and optimise processes.

7.  What are CDBB's plans for Level 3?

The Centre recommends moving away from the terms ‘BIM Level 3 and BIM Level 4’ to ‘operate and integrate’. The UK BIM Programme to date has shown that the shift beyond BIM Level 2 is not linear in nature; it can be broadly defined as the change from the improved asset delivery and maintenance to the smart operation and performance of a portfolio of assets, which can be integrated to enable the optimisation of organisational business services and socio-economic outcomes.

The integrated and interoperable system of asset portfolios, service delivery processes, social systems and user information envisaged for BIM Level 3 and 4 cannot be delivered with BIM alone. It will rely on the integration and interfacing of BIM data to service-delivery processes, within secure information landscapes and across federated digital twins.

As such, the term ‘operate & integrate’ better captures the wider context and promise. 

8.  What will CDBB produce to benefit the built environment?

Through applied research CDBB will create the framework, standards, guidance, deliver pilots and outline the industry change needed for how information about all assets in the built (and interface to the natural) environment are planned and used to perform their functional service and provide socio-economic benefit –creating the right things with better outcomes.

9. What is the Digital Built Britain Programme?

The Government brought together the Business and Professional Services Strategy, the Smart Cities Strategy and the Information Economy Strategy, under a singular Digital Built Britain Strategy in 2011 to provide a consistent vision regarding the creation of a high performing and transparent economy that efficiently delivers services to all its citizens. The strategy stated that BIM would be a requirement of all central Government construction procurement from 2016, providing a powerful incentive to firms to invest in BIM capability to remain eligible to compete for future government contracts. To support this the Government created its Digital Built Britain Strategy and committed to fund a BIM Task Group to develop the necessary common standards and protocols, and to make them available in accessible formats without cost to encourage widespread take-up especially among SMEs. The group was chaired by Mark Bew and includes expertise from industry, government, public sector, institutes and academia. Members of the Task Group will continue the programme as part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain.

Learn more at:

9. Security seems to play a key part, why is this?

Trust and security are essential if the full benefits of the increasing the number of locatable assets, 'smart' infrastructure, manufacturing, connectivity and automation are to be realised. Managed information sharing in which appropriate levels of trust and security are embedded, and which takes into consideration the security challenges that arise around aggregation, will facilitate the gathering, use, sharing and publication of data and information in a manner that is capable of meeting citizen-, sector-, built asset- and built environment-specific trust and security requirements. Ultimately, when integrated and aligned with commercial, cultural and technological developments, this trust and security will facilitate better management, maintenance and operation of built assets throughout their lifecycles, as well help to create the conditions under which inter- and cross-sector integration within the built environment can take place.

10. What is the Research Bridgehead?

The Research Bridgehead is a ‘bridge' between the DBB programme and the UK research community. The aim of the bridgehead is to build effective relationships with the research community to harness value, enabling results of innovative academic research to inform the development of DBB and become part of professional practice. The bridgehead will manage the identification and delivery of the DBB research programme to optimise value. It will actively feed in to the wider development of DBB and gather research requirements. The bridgehead will develop a network model that will bring together academic researchers, industry and stakeholder organisations to drive the creation of a digitally-enabled landscape. The next four to six months will see a further scoping programme to develop a more detailed assessment of the current research landscape and future research requirements. This phase will start to build an academic community around Level 3 and 4 and deliver the detailed requirements for the bridgehead and for the funding mechanisms to enable the engagement of the UK research community. A panel of experts will guide the activities of the bridgehead. 

10. Why was Cambridge selected as the Digital Built Britain – Centre of Excellence?

The University of Cambridge was invited to host the new Centre for Digital Built Britain in order to capitalise on the breadth of research and industry engagement expertise that exists in this area within Cambridge.  Led by Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Enterprise and Business Relations, the Centre was able to build on the expertise and experience of faculty from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), Cambridge Big Data, the Distributed Information and Automation Lab (DIAL), the Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA) and the Institute for Manufacturing. Preparing the ground for a Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) requires a ‘bridgehead’ between the DBB programme and the UK research community. The experience of faculty from Cambridge is ideally placed in the creation of this Research Bridgehead. This bridgehead will build effective relationships with the research community to harness value, enabling results of innovative academic research to inform the development of DBB and become part of professional practice. 

11. Is Northern Ireland part of Digital Built Britain?

Absolutely, we have as part of the programme an active Home Nations working group to share knowledge.

12. Is the adoption of BIM any use to smaller scale projects?

We believe that Level 2 BIM has value for projects of all values through a collaborative and digital approach. We would suggest that the best starting point is through the Level 2 BIM processes which can be found, and the standards downloaded free of charge, on the BSI BIM Level 2 website.  The BIM4SME website and community also offers good advice for those wishing to adopt BIM on smaller projects. Local areas have BIM regional groups that may also be a point of contact. There is also a good link to David Miller ArchitectsDavid Miller is an SME architectural company that has implemented BIM and this link documents their considered return on investment and journey.

13. What are Employer’s Information Requirements?

The Employer’s Information Requirements (EIR) is a pre-tender document prepared by the employer or their professional team setting out the information to be delivered, and the standards and processes to be adopted by the supplier as part of the project delivery process. The EIR is informed and generated by first defining Built Asset Security Information Requirements, Asset Information Requirements and Plain Language Questions. EIRs are an essential element of BIM Level 2 project implementation as they are used to set out clearly to the bidder what information is required within an information model and what the purposes of the information will be.  These requirements will be written into the contract and implemented through the BIM Execution Plan. Here is a specimen EIR template developed by the Departmental BIM Working Group as an un-populated reference example.

14. What are Government Soft Landings?

Government Soft Landings (GSL) is an approach that aligns the interests of design and construction with those of operational asset management and the built asset’s ultimate purpose. GSL reflects the need for a smooth transition from the design and construction phase to the operational phase of a built asset. Combined with the concept of Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), it seeks to compare the required performance outcomes with the actual performance outcomes.  The alignment of different objectives under the GSL approach means that the needs of the end-user, are considered and addressed throughout the design process. Fundamental to the concept of GSL is collaborative working across the supply chain and key stakeholder engagement at all stages of the process. End user engagement is delivered through the role of the GSL Champion who will be embedded into the project team. The GSL approach is a means of helping Government Departments achieve the soft-landing components of BS 8536-1 and 2 Briefing for design and construction which are part of the BIM Level 2 suite of standards. The documents below are examples of how Government Departments applied GSL as part of the Government Construction Strategy 2011 and are offered for information only as they are currently being updated.