skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain


2020 has certainly asked a lot of us. Our industry and wider society has been stretched almost to capacity in terms of handling the pressure that’s been placed upon us, and it’s provided a rather stark glimpse of a future landscape I’m sure we’d all prefer to avoid.

At CDBB our focus is on transforming the UK construction industry’s approach to how we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure in such a way as to help build resilience and create a brighter future, not just for our sector but for wider society also. One, I’m confident, we would all prefer.

However, in order to plan for the future, we must begin by envisioning what we would like that future to be. What will the overall landscape look like? What opportunities will exist? How will we guarantee relevance and ultimately survival? How can we be more resilient against catastrophic events? This can prove difficult as no-one is able to accurately predict the future, and if COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that no matter how much we plan ahead there will be unforeseeable elements, seemingly beyond our control, that can throw us off course at any time. So what, if any, influence can we aim to achieve over these elements, and make our future a safer bet?

As part of the work of Construction Innovation Hub on the industry’s transformation programme, we’re launching a new publication – Four Futures, One Choice – in which we explore four compelling scenarios for how Britain may look in 2040. The four possible futures are designed to provide a clear lens through which we can view the impact of decisions we make today.

We have a rare, and timely opportunity now to transform our ways of working not only to protect our future for the short-term, but also for the long-term. The insight delivered by the Four Futures, One Choice publication allows us to discuss possible long-term outcomes and offers suggestions for how we can achieve them through the actions we take now.

It makes for a compelling read, and there’s no denying the sense of urgency it elicits. Our ongoing work as part of the Construction Innovation Hub focuses on enabling our industry to be more resilient in the face of unpredictable futures as well as helping to deliver a brighter future for us all. Using this considered and informed scenario planning method we are able to envision, in detail, what the future may look like. It also shows us how decisions we make today – especially in our recovery from COVID-19 – about our business strategies or possible career paths, can help us plan for the future we choose.

The open access e-book will be available to download from December 2020, but in the meantime you can find a link to the summary preview and learn more about the authors here.

Contact: Alexandra Bolton