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Centre for Digital Built Britain

Alexandra Bolton

As we look out of our windows and wonder just what the summer weather will bring next, our Executive Director Alexandra Bolton reflects on what CDBB has achieved so far and looks forward to a busy autumn with the upcoming CDBB week events, and activities and further engagement with the digital built Britain community at UK Construction Week and Digital Construction Week as part of the Construction Innovation Hub.

Summer is traditionally a quiet time of year in universities and government with academics making the most of the break from teaching and Parliament in summer recess. As a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we might therefore also be expected to be taking some time out to refresh our batteries. Instead, the CDBB office seems as full and busy as always, especially with preparations for our inaugural CDBB week in September.

This summer marks the end of the first phase of CDBB. Initially a 2 year project tasked with delivering a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future, myself, Professor Andy Neely and a few key people established the Centre and developed a series of programmes looking at improving academic capacity, aligning with and supporting policy development, and supporting industry change towards a digital built Britain that delivers for everyone. We have just finished reporting on these activities and I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved. From a standing start with no office and no staff, we have flourished and grown to have our own dedicated set of offices, over 20 members in the CDBB team and we have established a strong and inclusive strategy that is already making a difference. We have rapidly become the focal point for the digital transformation of our buildings and infrastructure, far more quickly than I dared have hoped those two short years ago.

During CDBB week, we will be presenting a series of ‘show and tell’ physical and digital events that highlight some of our achievements, and signpost our future plans – with an emphasis on some of the work we will be doing as part of the Construction Innovation Hub in partnership with MTC and BRE. Early on we knew that CDBB would be far more than a technical programme and I am excited to be leading a Centre that works worldwide with industry, policy-makers, academics and organisations of all shapes and sizes. I hope that you will join our CDBB week activities, either in person or by following the action online via our website, Twitter and LinkedIn channels – #CDBBWeek2019.

We have come an extremely long way in an incredibly short time. I am confident that the solid foundations built during the first phase of CDBB will lead to a strong second phase including our work with our Hub partners. Our aim is to facilitate, enable and support the digital transformation of the built and natural environment to provide better services, structures and outcomes. I hope that we will continue to progress just as quickly so that everyone can benefit from the work that we do.