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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 Centre for Digital Built Britain’s International work stream has championed the foundation of successful collaborations between international governments and regional public sector communities resulting in the forthcoming launch of a Global BIM Network for the public sector. Ahead of the CDBB-convened inaugural Global BIM Summit on 17 March 2021, which officially launches the Global BIM Network, a number of representatives from partner countries and organisations share the in-country experience of collaborating to implement a national programme of digital change. 

Sean Kearney, Principal Consultant and part of the Digital Ventures team at Mott MacDonald, which was appointed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as the Delivery Partner for the Prosperity Fund BIM project in 2019, sets out the components for a progressive approach to BIM adoption.

When you simplify it, the adoption of BIM at a national or organisational level is really a change management process. As with all change management activities, momentum and morale are vital for success. Early wins bring a motivating feel-good factor. There needs to be a clear line of sight between the benefits secured and the time and resource assigned. Change requires a cultural shift within an organisation. People respond best when change is incremental and positive impacts can be seen in their daily work. We’re only human, after all.

During the last two years, as delivery partners on the Prosperity Fund BIM Programme, our team has trained national level BIM teams, and organisations (government line ministries) on the implementation of BIM. At both national and organisational levels, we have “started with the why” when it comes to BIM strategy. We ask questions such as: what challenges are you looking to overcome? How would access to the right information at the right time help to resolve them?

BIM uses can then be aligned to meeting the highest priority challenges. Key challenges will differ from case to case, but may include: increased cost certainty, embodied carbon reduction, or improved community engagement. Following the ISO 19650 process, information requirements are then written with the intended benefits in mind.

Learning on the job

Once the target benefits are identified, the next step is to commence pilot projects and set the relevant information requirements to achieve them. Over time and multiple projects, BIM will derive more benefits due to the increase in experience and capacity of both the clients and their supply chain.

During the Prosperity Fund BIM Programme, we shared case studies of BIM adoption to highlight successful practice. International stakeholders were particularly drawn to the Thames Tideway East project example. BIM had proved pivotal in addressing two key challenges: reducing the design programme, and improving efficiency by reducing the effort involved in producing, checking and reviewing the estimated 50,000 deliverables.

The Tideway East team used their experience of Common Data Environments (CDEs) and information models, developed in previous projects, and added progressive steps to target BIM benefits that would tackle the challenges. Firstly, they set up collaborative meetings with the client team to review the latest design information, and secondly the transition to model-based delivery was discussed and agreed for the concept and developed design stages.  

The steps complemented each other. Collaborative meetings set the culture of using BIM at the heart of the design process. The information models that were reviewed during these meetings were packaged into deliverables containing all the relevant information, but they avoided the process of drawing production. The model-based delivery benefits analysis for the Thames Tideway East Project is documented here, including the extract as follows:

Model-based delivery supported the accelerated (2-year saving) delivery programme. Efficiency savings of 32% were demonstrated at design gates 2 and 3 when compared to traditional drawing delivery methods.

While this example is from a high maturity base, it demonstrates that specific BIM benefits were targeted and successfully achieved.

Global adoption, benefit by benefit

Globally, the construction industry is on a journey of modernisation – so now is the right time to instil a benefit-driven approach to BIM adoption. Ultimately, these benefits should pass through to the end user. Our collective aim must be to harness digital delivery, to enable improved social outcomes. For infrastructure, progressive BIM adoption can play a leading role, one benefit at a time.

We can learn from each other during this journey by collaborating, sharing successes, challenges, failures, insights, and knowledge. The Global BIM Network presents an opportunity for this collaboration, which will support governments and the whole industry in the advancement of the sector’s digital transformation.


  • The online Global BIM Summit on 17 March 2021 will connect investors, the public sector and industry to mark the launch of a global public sector policy and procurement network which will accelerate digital change across global construction. The Global BIM Summit, which is expected to attract attendees from more than 40 countries worldwide, will officially launch the Global BIM Network. The Global BIM Summit will take place online at 11.00 (GMT) and 15.00 (GMT) to account for time differences globally. 

See full details and event programme at

  • A Global BIM Summit pre-event series of webinars featuring public sector representatives leading national BIM initiatives from across the world will take place throughout early March. Register interest at 
  • The Global BIM Network is supported by the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)