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Network - Housing Digital Built Britain

The Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research (CCHPR) is a research centre within the University of Cambridge’s Department of Land Economy. With over 25 years’ experience of research in policy evaluation and analysis, as well as expertise in housing, poverty and welfare reforms, CCHPR’s key strength is in understanding the complexity of current housing issues and being able to deliver policy-relevant research.

Housing sits at the heart of many wider social issues, and it will sit at the heart of the development of a Digital Built Britain (DBB). The Housing Digital Built Britain Network will focus its attention on residential housing: delivering DBB is not simply about technological solutions to make supply and maintenance more efficient, although this is important, it is also about understanding how those solutions and efficiency gains interact with wider social policy issues to address UK housing inequalities.   

The network will build on CCHPR’s recent research for CDBB, which looked at the need for innovation in construction and experimentation with new forms of housing delivery, such as modular housing. Our report reflected the ‘state of the nation’ and summarised the opportunities and barriers to the uptake of digital tools, standards and processes (Building Information Modelling) in innovations found in the UK house building sector. 

The Housing Digital Built Britain Network will bring together academics, practitioners, policy makers and government to facilitate dialogue and determine the key areas of inquiry in relation to residential housing and DBB. Working with these partners, CCHPR will determine the priority issues for investigation, mapping them onto the CDBB framework and developing position papers which will form the key areas of focus for our research. It is our aim to scope out a research programme to meet the needs of UK plc in delivering affordable, sustainable and inclusive housing in a Digital Built Britain. 

For more information, and to keep up to date with the Housing Digital Built Britain Network, please visit CCHPR’s website and follow us on Twitter. 

Update: 28 September 2018

Our first event, a dynamic workshop attended by industry experts and academics, was held at Trinity Hall in Cambridge at the end of July, and several position papers will be generated by the CCHPR team, with the support of network members, as a result of the ideas that came out of the workshop. The first position paper from the Digital Built Britain Housing Network was published in August 2018, and focused on digitisation and housing an ageing population. It is considered that allowing people to 'age in place' has benefits for all and this has become a major thrust underpinning UK policy on older people and housing -  consequently this is an area ripe for research. With today's society facing the prospect of housing an ever-increasing proportion of older people with complex housing and support needs, the myriad developments in new technology have the potential to provide solutions for these needs. The position paper sets these out.

Our second position paper, due for publication at the beginning of October, will look at off-site manufacture (OSM) and its potential to help UK plc satisfy housing demand through the use of non-traditional construction techniques and methods. Digitisation and OSM have been hampered in the past by recognised barriers to innovation in the construction sector, including procurement, concerns about financial reward and patchy collaboration between industry, academia and research associations. The position paper identifies a number of areas for further research and draws a picture of an industry with an appetite for innovation and for a greater understanding of the value of off-site manufacture of housing to both the industry and UK households.

Our next discussion event will take place in November and invitations will be sent out shortly.

Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research welcome enquiries from individuals or organisations interested in the Digital Built Britain Housing Network. For more information, please contact Dr Gemma Burgess 

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.