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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Blog from Alexandra Bolton

In her monthly round-up of the latest CDBB activities, Deputy Director Alexandra Bolton welcomes the forthcoming publication of the Digital Framework Task Group Roadmap and the official launch of the Construction Innovation Hub at Futurebuild.

CDBB will soon publish one of the key deliverables of the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) – the Roadmap to the Information Management Framework for the Built Environment. The Roadmap shows the prioritised route for development of the Framework indicating how key building blocks will fit together to secure effective and resilent information management across the built environment. The Gemini Principles and the Roadmap form the two key enablers for the delivery of the National Digital Twin (NDT). This is a significant step in the journey to a digital built Britain.

There was huge interest in the technologies and building systems shaping the built environment at the Futurebuild event, held in London earlier this month. The dynamic mix of zones featured and the range of innovation on show was impressive and I was delighted to chair a panel session on the topic of creating a digital built Britain. Mark Enzer, Chair of the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) gave an overview of the Gemini Principles and a preview of the forthcoming Roadmap, which will lead to the development of a National Digital Twin. Ajith Parlikad presented his pilot of the West Cambridge digital twin as a case study towards the NDT, and Karen Alford of the Environmental Agency discussed how the curation and management of data is critical to the effective management of assets for the benefit of the public. It was a well-attended session with many interesting questions both asked and answered.

Futurebuild marked the official launch of the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) that brings together world-class expertise from the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Building Research Establishment (BRE) and CDBB to transform the UK construction industry. The launch took place in the Innovation Zone and it was good to see so many people keen to know more about the collaboration to develop, commercialise and promote digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector. Building smarter, greener and more efficient buildings faster and cheaper is part of our remit and I look forward to working closely with industry and academic partners to achieve this shared goal. 

CDBB’s inaugural event for the Cambridge Science Festival was a great success and it was heartening to see so many young people engaging with a range of activities designed to explain and demonstrate the benefits of the digitalisation of the built environment. Encouraging young minds to engage with the future of construction is key to success and the CIH has joined with MOBIE (Ministry of Building Innovation and Education, the educational charity founded by architect and television presenter George Clarke in 2017) for the 2019 Design Challenge aimed at inspiring young people to innovate in the design and construction of homes.

This year’s MOBIE challenge brings focus to designing a modular ‘home for life’ that can adapt, becoming bigger and smaller to meet the changing needs of a family. There are plans for the winning home design to be developed by architects at MOBIE LAB and professionally structurally engineered, enabling the manufacture and assembly of modules within the CIH at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) using robotic technology. Shortlisted finalists will have the chance to visit the CIH at the MTC in Coventry on Friday 21 June. Good luck to all who enter, it will be a fascinating project.

Looking ahead, the CDBB Summer Showcase will take place in September this year and will feature a week of activities. This is currently in the early stages of planning and we look forward to announcing programme details nearer the time.