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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog - Alexandra Bolton talks us through this month's activities

Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of CDBB, reports on the latest activities at HQ, including Mini-Projects, Research Networks and Digital Twins.

It’s been a busy month at CDBB. Reports on the progress of our Mini-Projects, funded from the University of Cambridge network, make interesting reading and we will publish these on our website over the following few weeks. While all of the funded projects consider how digital technologies impact the built environment and how society may be affected by their use, the range is impressive; from the audio landscape of a building and transport mapping to the uptake of BIM in the housing sector. If you would like to read more please keep an eye on the CDBB website and you will find the full reports available here soon.

Our research agenda is taking shape following the call for proposals for Research Networks at the Research Network Scoping Workshop that was held in early April. The call for networks closes on 18 May but the Centre is always keen to hear from anyone interested in contributing to a network – this part of the research agenda is ongoing and open to engagement. There will be additional research calls later this year so please keep an eye on the CDBB website or join our database to be kept in the loop with the latest announcements about events, workshops, collaborations and news.

We are fortunate to work with a number of experts in their field who are helping to develop the research landscape that will support our wide-reaching programme. This is an open framework to actively invite engagement – If you would like to know more about the Research Agenda Framework there is a short video featuring Dr Charles Boulton in which he explains some of the thought behind the framework here.

TCALogoCDBB works with a number of organisations to promote the DBB programme and we are collaborating with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on the Industry Strategy Challenge Fund Core Innovation Hub that will support cooperation between industry and academia to transform the construction sector. If you would like to be involved, please contact us via

2018 April CEM DebateWe were delighted to sponsor The Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering Masters (CEM) Annual Debate that was held at the Frankopan Hall at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. The moot was: This House believes that the national Digital Twin will remain a pipe dream for at least a generation, and the topic invited a range of well-considered and persuasive arguments presented by the speakers for both debating teams. When the debate opened to the floor there was no shortage of contributions from the audience that comprised fellow CEM students supporting the arguments presented by the speakers from their teams, academics from the Department of Engineering and invited industry professionals. Many lively comments included the potentially time-consuming task of digitising the UK’s heritage assets estate and need for political will to carry the national Digital Twin project forward. It really was a fascinating discussion. 

On the subject of Digital Twins, we are working with Dr Ajith Parlikad, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Systems and Head of the Asset Management research group at the University of Cambridge, to develop a Digital Twin of the Institute for Manufacturing and the West Cambridge Campus. Industry input from Bentley Systems, itemit by RedBite, Topcon and GeoSLAM has made this a particularly exciting project, and we have just extended the scoping project for another 12 months. 

The International stream of CDBB continues to make great strides overseas and Richard Lane reports on the latest achievements of the programme in Europe in his blog that will appear here next week. A number of the team are busy developing the all-important training and education programme for the BIM Level 2 DBB agenda, for both domestic and international audiences. BIM sits at the heart of the digital transformation across the built environment and the training and education programme supports industry to optimise this opportunity to improve performance and stimulate innovation in delivery and operation of assets. We will, of course, keep you updated on the availability of these resources.

Finally, ahead of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is implemented on 25 May, we look forward to the forthcoming Guest Blog which is written by Jacqui Taylor, CEO of Flying Binary, and an expert lead for the British Standards Institute (BSI) team and technical author for the latest BSI UK Smart City standard, who will consider GDPR as an enabler for unlocking some of the complexities of the CDBB agenda.