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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

Research background

Erika’s own research background is focused predominantly upon the multi-disciplinary areas of 'digital business models and services, platform business models, business model innovation in the digital built environment, BIM and digital twin developments’ but she remains actively involved in other broader ‘construction and civil engineering management’ topics whilst working with her international colleagues. Research investigations have thus far included: digital twins and business model innovation, BIM and FM integration; design development automation; clash detection; laser-scanning; engineering design; construction management in developing countries; cyber-security; and networked and sensor-based BIM integration.

CDBB projects involved with

Digital Business Models

Research ambitions for CDBB

To avoid disruption, traditional AECO businesses are moving fast to adopt business model innovation amidst the frenzied digitalisation of the industry services. Interesting new ecosystems can be seen emerging in the built environment market. Businesses in the built environment operate in a traditional and heavily-regulated market. They are most familiar with the physical and social dimension of operations but are still struggling to transition into digital dimensions of business models. Therefore, it remains unclear how established firms will respond? Erika hope to make two contributions to the built environment business model literature. First, to provide a conceptual  framework on Business Model Innovation forces that are complemented by Digital Twins in sector specific peripheries, namely in engineering fields such as manufacturing and built environment. Secondly, Erika hopes to use this BMI-DT framework to assess the next digital platform service provider leaders for DTs for the built environment. 


Dr. Erika A. Pärn [PhD, BSc (Hons), PgCE, PgCR] is a Research Associate at University of Cambridge based at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and supporting CDBB’s research into digital business models.  Previously whilst working in industry, she led multiple research project technical deliverables for the EU commission such as the two H2020 initiatives:  GreenInstruct ( and BIMERR ( and a UKRI project SeismPrecast ( Her PhD has evaluated the use of BIM and cloud-based technologies to streamline facilities management into the as-built BIM via three case studies at Birmingham City University, entitled: Geometric and Semantic BIM Data Framework for BIM-Enabled FM.  

During her time in academia as an Architectural Technology lecturer at Birmingham City University, she taught undergraduate and postgraduate students of built environment school and accrued much of her research experience. This saw successful winning of a KTP research grant to help automate and digitize manufacturing with BIM. To date, E.A. Pärn has published her research in several peer-reviewed academic journals and has been a keynote speaker at several preeminent industrial and conference events. Collaborating industrial partners in her research have included: BCU Estates Department; Wilmott Dixon; BAM; and Excelsior Panelling. Since conducing much of this research she has become an advocate of BIM, more importantly beyond the traditional confines of design and construction for the latter stages of asset management.


Research Associate

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