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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog: Alexandra Bolton tells us the latest news from CDBB

In her monthly CDBB round-up Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain offers an update on some of the events and activities that have been underway this month.

September is proving to be a busy and exciting month here at the Centre for Digital Built Britain. CDBB’s remit and collaborative programme means our team works across industry, academia and government to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction.

At a recent Cambridge Network event the Centre’s Director, Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge, was the guest speaker. The event attracted members of the region’s tech community, SMEs and researchers from a range of academic disciplines, including Architecture, Land Economy and Engineering. Professor Neely set out the Centre’s mission to develop and demonstrate policy and practical insights that will enable the exploitation of new and emerging technologies, data and analytics to enhance the built environment, boost productivity, deliver commercial advantage and improve citizen quality of life. 

Making the point that technology alone is not enough to deliver change, Professor Neely set out the journey towards a digital built Britain bringing focus to a number of enabling factors including: education and training; certifications, regulation and standards; data governance and ethics; and improved contract and procurement law. He also highlighted the collaborative nature of the Centre: “Our programme, while based in Cambridge, is national. We are also an open programme and want to engage with the best people in industry and academia to build research capability and capacity across the UK, inform policy, and support change to digital in the built environment.” 

Three additional presentations showcased a range of the Centre’s research community: Dr Mohamed Zaki, Deputy Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance (at the Institute for Manufacturing) presented on ‘Creating spaces that understand people’; Dr Anil Madhavapeddy spoke about architecture for interspatial communication (shared, multi-tenant infrastructure for communications); and Dr Gemma Burgess, from the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research, who is leading the CDBB-funded Housing Digital Built Britain Research Network, considered the potential of digital to transform the housing sector.

TechFest04Also, this month CDBB was one of the key sponsors of the New Civil Engineer TechFest Festival 2018, in London, which showcased the innovation and tech community and included the TechFest Awards. At the awards ceremony Professor Neely addressed guests and presented the Judges Supreme Award: Digitisation for digital built Britain. This flagship award recognises the individual, company, research or project team that is doing most to drive the industry forward through technology adoption, with specific references with the challenges set out in Digital Built Britain, the government’s strategy for moving the industry beyond BIM Level 2. This was awarded to Gaist Solutions, for their innovation and role at the forefront of built environment digitisation. 

Dr Jennifer Schooling who chairs the Research Strategy Steering Group and who has recently been elected as a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Amelia Burnett, Head of Engagement, and myself all participated in the ICE Shaping a Digital World event that focussed on collaborating to unlock the value of data.  

This week Amelia Burnett will also address the CDBB BIM Level 2 Roundtable Discussion, in association with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), that will discuss Academia and Training on 27 September. This is part of a series of events – full details of the other Roundtable Discussions are on the CDBB website.

Looking ahead, please do make a diary date for CDBB’s ‘Security-Mindedness for Smart Infrastructure’ event on 1 November, at Downing College, Cambridge, which is designed for users and providers of smart infrastructure solutions and will include morning presentations by partners, government security advisors and security experts followed by an afternoon workshop. I look forward to seeing many of you there.