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Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain

The Government have announced £5.4 million in funding to launch the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge, which will help people make better use of cities by championing the digital revolution in the built environment. The Centre is part of a landmark government-led investment in growing the UK’s construction sector.

New £5.4 million centre will help transform the UK’s construction sector for the digital age.

The Government have announced £5.4 million in funding to launch the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge, which will help people make better use of cities by championing the digital revolution in the built environment. The Centre is part of a landmark government-led investment in growing the UK’s construction sector.

The Centre is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University to support the transformation of the construction sector using digital technologies to better plan, build, maintain and use infrastructure. It will focus on the ongoing transformation of the built environment through the digital tools, standards and processes that are collectively known as Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM enables the people building and managing our transport networks, cities and major infrastructure projects to take advantage of advances in the digital world to intelligently deliver better services and end products for UK citizens.

Led by Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Enterprise and Business Relations, the Centre builds on the expertise and experience of faculty from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), Cambridge Big Data, the Distributed Information and Automation Lab (DIAL), the Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA) and the Institute for Manufacturing. The Cambridge researchers work with a team of specialists from Digital Built Britain Programme and partners from industry and academia to develop and demonstrate policy and practical insights that will enable the exploitation of new and emerging technologies, data and analytics to enhance the natural and built environment, thereby driving up commercial competitiveness and productivity, as well as citizen quality of life and well-being. 

"The Centre for Digital Built Britain will work in partnership with Government and industry to improve the performance, productivity and safety of construction through the better use of digital technologies," said Professor Neely.

 “The achievement of the BIM Task Group in delivering the Level 2 BIM programme has provided both the UK and increasingly a worldwide platform for the digitisation of the construction and services sectors.  We welcome the vast experience and capability Cambridge brings to the team and the creation of the Centre for Digital Built Britain,” said Dr Mark Bew MBE, Strategic Advisor to the Centre for Digital Built Britain.

“The construction and infrastructure sector are poised for a digital revolution, and Britain is well placed to lead it. Over the next decade advances in BIM will combine with the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, data-driven manufacturing and the digital economy to enable us to plan new buildings and infrastructure more effectively, build them at lower cost, operate and maintain them more efficiently, and deliver better outcomes to the people who use them,” said Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction. “This is a wonderful opportunity to put the breadth of research and industry engagement expertise from Cambridge at the heart of Digital Built Britain.”

The UK is leading the world with its support of BIM implementation in the construction sector through its commitment to the Digital Built Britain Programme. By embedding Level 2 BIM in the government projects such as Crossrail, the programme has contributed significantly to Government’s £3 billion of efficiency savings between 2011 and 2015. Since 2016, all UK centrally funded projects require Level 2 BIM, which has achieved 20 per cent cost savings for its construction procurement to date. Tasked with supporting innovation in the construction sector, the Construction Leadership Council has also put BIM at the heart of its sector strategy Construction 2025; which commits to cut built asset costs by 33 per cent, and time and carbon by 50 per cent. The Centre will continue and build on this transformative approach.

The Centre for Digital Built Britain will be based in the Maxwell Centre in West Cambridge and will be formally launched in Spring 2018.


Notes for editors:

What is BIM?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) sits at the heart of digital transformation across the UK built environment. For the construction industry, a major part of the overall UK economy, it provides a critical opportunity to significantly improve performance and stimulate more innovative ways of delivery and operation

BIM is a collaborative way of working that facilitates early supply chain involvement, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining our assets BIM provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of an asset to support reliable decision making and management of information during its life-cycle. At its core BIM uses 3D models and a common data environment to access and share information efficiently across the supply chain and so boost the efficiency of activities around asset delivery and operation. By helping the entire supply chain to work from a single source of information, BIM reduces the risk of error and maximises the team ability to innovate.

Learn more at: and

Digital Built Britain Programme

The Government brought together the Business and Professional Services Strategy, the Smart Cities Strategy and the Information Economy Strategy, under a singular Digital Built Britain Strategy in 2011 to provide a consistent vision regarding the creation of a high performing and transparent economy that efficiently delivers services to all its citizens. The strategy stated that BIM would be a requirement of all central Government construction procurement from 2016, providing a powerful incentive to firms to invest in BIM capability to remain eligible to compete for future government contracts. To support this the Government created its Digital Built Britain Strategy and committed to fund a BIM Task Group to develop the necessary common standards and protocols, and to make them available in accessible formats without cost to encourage widespread take-up especially among SMEs. The group was chaired by Mark Bew and includes expertise from industry, government, public sector, institutes and academia. Members of the Task Group will continue the programme as part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain.

Construction Leadership Council

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was established in 2013 to work between industry and government to identify and deliver actions supporting UK construction in building greater efficiency, skills and growth. It is an industry / government council jointly chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy, Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and an industry representative.

Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC)

CSIC is an Innovation Knowledge Centre, jointly funded by EPSRC and Innovate UK with additional support from industry partners founded in 2011 to translate research into commercial application – with the specific aim of creating a multi-million pound industry to exploit international markets. All of CSIC's activity ultimately aims to transform the future of infrastructure and construction through smart information - providing decision makers at all points in an asset's lifetime with the information they need to make well-informed, value-based decisions. Working with industry allows CSIC to deploy emerging technologies on live sites and projects in order to accelerate progress of these technologies to readiness stage. CSIC’s investigators sit in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Information Engineering, Statistical Signal Processing, Photonics and Sensors, Urban Design and Spatial Planning, and the Institute for Manufacturing.

The current delivery model of CSIC is based on:

  • The use and development of sensor systems
  • Data-driven decision making, and
  • Demonstrating the value of smart solutions

...across the whole asset life cycle: performance based design, transforming construction, managing and operating infrastructure and smart city systems.