Digital Built Britain – Transforming the Sector

23 August 2017
Mark Bew

The ‘Digital Built Britain’ programme – which I chair – has been working closely with the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the BRE and the i3P Consortium to boost productivity across the built environment, through investment in digital and manufacturing technologies that drive better through-life performance. This work has resonance across a number of industrial sectors including Tech (digital, data etc), Manufacturing and Construction and has strong touch points with their respective leadership councils.

It will bring together DBB programmes and the work to create smart cities, with the Technology Roadmap the i3P have developed and projects in the MTC that will develop manufacturing technologies for the construction sector. Our proposals will form a bid into the Government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The proposal is built around investment in a Core Innovation Hub comprised of three major research and innovation centres that reach into and integrate technology and systems from across the whole industry knowledge base:

 

  • A Digital Built Britain Centre (DBB) to pull on capability from across industry to define new digital infrastructure standards and product specifications;
  • an Integrated Production Systems for Smart Infrastructure Centre (IPSSIC) based at the MTC in Coventry, to develop technologies and processes to deliver and maintain infrastructure and buildings; and
  • an Infrastructure Product Validation Centre (IPVC) based at BRE in Watford, IPVC will test infrastructure components during development, and provide independent validation of building performance – building market confidence in these new products and techniques.

 

Together, these technologies can reduce the cost of projects by a third, the time taken to implement them by half, reduce carbon emissions and ensure that over their lifecycle, buildings deliver better value to those who own, live and work in them – and can support new and better services such as health and transport, which digital systems will deliver. Initial analysis shows whole-life benefits from embracing a whole-life approach to construction delivery could be as much as 6% of GDP according to analysis by EY.

At the recent Construction Leadership Council Leadership hosted by CLC Co-Chair and Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme, industry leaders gathered at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, to hear how this programme could transform the sector, and how it is integrated with CLC work on skills and business models as part of a proposal for a Sector Deal for construction that will be taken to Government later this year.

Andrew’s message to industry bosses was simple, that success for the construction sector boils down to better, more certain outcomes through the application of digital technologies; improved productivity through a more manufacturing type approach; and developing infrastructure that is much more optimised through life in its performance.

The challenge is how we can bring Government Departments and programmes, industry stakeholders and the supply chain together around the common themes of digital, manufacturing and through-life performance. We are working on the business case for this, and we hope that this will form a compelling case that large parts of the sector will support.

Mark Bew,   Chairman HM Government BIM Working Group