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The Uptake of Digital Tools, Standards and Processes in Innovation in the UK House Building Industry: opportunities and barriers to adoption - Dr Gemma Burgess

The aim of this short project is to provide a ‘state of the nation’ report into the opportunities and barriers to the uptake of the digital tools, standards and processes that are collectively known as Building Information Modelling (BIM) in innovations taking place the UK house building sector. It will engage with the innovative sector of the market that is experimenting with modular housing production to explore how the use of digital tools is part of, or has the potential to be part of, the production and sustainability of these homes for the future.

The UK has a chronic under-supply of housing, with numerous negative social impacts, and there is cross-party governmental support for the need to increase house building rates. Home-building rates are just half of the 300,000 required to replace the housing which falls below Government standards and to provide for the backlog of unmet need.

The housing crisis in the UK demands innovative and affordable models of housing production and design. Although innovation has been claimed as the key to meeting the challenge, many researchers into construction comment on the inherent conservatism and lack of innovation in the house building industry.

However, very recently there has been increased interest in, and production of, modular housing. Suppliers such as Legal & General Homes have begun to deliver compact ‘off-the-peg’ homes delivered to sites immediately ready for occupation, and housing associations such as RHP are selling these homes at 15% below the standard cost for onsite construction, while also requiring no public subsidy. Nevertheless, this is a very new and innovative part of the market.

This project will build on two pieces of recent research that involved in depth interviews with a range of UK house builders, including housing associations. Both projects were conducted for the Department of Communities and Local Government. The interviews highlighted issues around the need for innovation in construction and a recent experimentation with new forms of housing delivery such as modular housing.

The aim of this short project is to provide a ‘state of the nation’ report into the opportunities and barriers to the uptake of the digital tools, standards and processes that are collectively known as Building Information Modelling (BIM) in innovations taking place the UK house building sector. It will engage with the innovative sector of the market that is experimenting with modular housing production to explore how the use of digital tools is part of, or has the potential to be part of, the production and sustainability of these homes for the future.

Researcher:

Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, Department of Land Economy



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Welcome to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.  

The Centre for Digital Built Britain is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure.