Digital Built Britain; a realisation of purpose

Jul 7
dig built

Digital Built Britain; a realisation of purpose

Imagine a construction industry, which delivers high performing assets. An industry that provides exceptional client value. One that attracts talent from diverse backgrounds into an industry seen to add demonstrable value to society. Imagine an industry where we provide more for less, and reduce whole life cost and carbon.

Basically, everything that the construction industry has been criticised for in government reports spanning the last 80 years. This is Digital Built Britain (DBB).

The Aim? To build a digital economy for the construction industry in support of improving delivery, operations and services provided to citizens.

In essence, DBB sets out the vision and strategy to secure the future of the UK construction industry. It builds upon the Level 2 BIM programme, which focuses on the construction industry alone, and places it within a much wider context. Instead of solely focusing on design and construction, it extends to capital and operational expenditure savings to a shift towards a whole lifecycle process.

DBB takes advantage of converging technologies, Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). It brings together many initiatives including BIM, Smart Cites, advanced manufacturing and industrial controls.

‘The UK has the potential to lead one of the defining developments of the 21st century, which will enable the country to capture not only all of the inherent value in our built assets, but also the data to create a digital and smart city economy to transform the lives of all.’

Mark Bew and Sir David Higgins – DDB 2015

It’s fair to say that the strategy published back in 2015 is high level. Much of the detail is yet to be worked out. Yet it’s also fair to say that DBB is also not just about BIM Level 3. To strive and create the digital transformation of the construction sector requires a firm foundation. In the same way that BIM Level 1 standards such as BS 1192 are integral and essential to be able to go on and achieve BIM Level 2.

In my piece ‘Who is governing BIM?’ I pondered the question, just how many projects where a Level 2 requirement is mandated are actually achieving the deliverables and following the required processes? From personal experience, what is often described as a “Level 2 Project”, becomes a watered down version of an actual BIM Level 2 project.

I am pleased to see that a key part of the DDB strategy is the solidifying and embedding of BIM Level 2 as ‘Business as usual’. This provides the firm foundation for the industry to strive towards BIM Level 3 and all that it promises. Don’t get me wrong, we should be planning for the future. We should be seizing upon the opportunities offered by a digital economy. However we mustn’t lose site that the Level 2 mandate last April marks the beginning of this transformation. It is a critical staging post within the BIM programme.

In the coming weeks I will be looking at how DDB and digital construction reduces risk and within construction projects and what DBB means for the future of the built environment.


Ben Malone – Director, BIM. Technologies