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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog: Alexandra Bolton rounds off the year!

To coincide with the publication of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s ‘Year One: Towards a digital built Britain’ report, Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of CDBB, reflects on the digital journey to date and looks ahead to 2019.

Appointed by government to drive a programme of change to transform the construction sector, the Centre for Digital Built Britain has embarked on this digital journey with the support of government, industry and academia. While the task still in hand should not be underestimated, our considerable progress to date reflects the shared vision and ambition for the sector amongst stakeholders and the recognition of the opportunities digital brings.

Collaborative working is at the heart of CDBB’s mission to facilitate a digital built Britain; our programme is open and we continue to welcome engagement with the best and the brightest from organisations across the country and beyond. We are much more than a technical programme and we connect with individuals and organisations across disciplines and sectors to draw on expertise and experience.

2018 Year one report imageOur research agenda reflects this multidisciplinary approach and we have commissioned a diverse portfolio of research projects. As Dr Jennifer Schooling says in ‘Building the Research Programme’ in our Year One review: “We need engineers and architects to work with economists, linguists, social scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, mathematicians and computer scientists – amongst others – both to understand the impact of the built environment on how we live our lives and how to design, build, operate and integrate assets that can deliver better outcomes for us all.”

Good data is central to successful digital transformation in the sector and wider built environment. We have made good progress in supporting the adoption of the UK’s standards for information management and digital transformation in a number of ways, including a series of BIM Level 2 roundtables.

At the end of this year CDBB published the Gemini Principles report to begin enabling alignment on the approach to information management across the built environment; establishing agreed definitions and principles from the outset will make it easier to share data in the future. These principles are effectively the conscience of the information management framework and the national digital twin. To ensure that these two initiatives are – and remain – for the public good, they need strong founding values to guide them. The Gemini Principles will continue to evolve as the national digital twin evolves and we seek ongoing input into their development from across the sector.

The UK’s information management standards are being adopted globally, bringing huge opportunities for the UK’s construction industry. CDBB’s international programme and the international team will continue to work alongside partner countries in the year ahead.

Adopting good security practices around data is vital and our security workstream continues to develop the mechanisms and information needed to increase awareness, understanding, clarity and structure around security issues and good security practices.

As 2018 draws to a close, we are looking forward to being part of the Transforming Construction Alliance (TCA) in its delivery of the Core Innovation Hub (CIH). CDBB has partnered with the BRE and the Manufacturing Technology Centre to form the Transforming Construction Alliance. In November the TCA was awarded £72 million in funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Transforming Construction programme to help the sector harness manufacturing and digital technologies and, by doing so, reinvent the way it designs, builds and operates buildings and infrastructure projects and integrates them into the built environment.

A digital built Britain has the potential to transform the way we live our lives while contributing to our economic prosperity. To make it happen, we need strong direction and engagement from government and new ideas, technologies and training from our universities. But, ultimately, the change itself has to take place in, and be led by, industry. I am enormously grateful to everyone who has been part of CDBB’s first year of engagement and activity and I very much look forward to working with our partners in this shared endeavour throughout 2019.

Read the 1st year Annual Report in full