Launch of Digital Built Britain, the next phase of digitisation in construction

By Catherine Sturman
The next phase of the UKs Internationally-recognised BIM (building information modeling) Task Group programme has been announced duringthe ICE (Institut...

The next phase of the UK’s Internationally-recognised BIM (building information modeling) Task Group programme has been announced during the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) BIM 2016 conference by Mark Bew MBE, chair of the BIM Task Group and the newly formed Digital Built Britain programme.

Innovate UK and the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy have formed a partnership to deliver through Digital Built Britain, the next phase of digitisation in the construction sector.

Digital Built Britain, first announced in the 2016 budget, will deliver reductions in whole-life costs and carbon emissions, whilst improving productivity and capacity by using intelligent building information models, sensing technology and secure data and information infrastructure. Digital Built Britain will also continue the work of the globally recognised BIM Task Group programme, set up in 2011 to deliver up to 20 percent savings on costs of major projects.

In reducing the cost of projects, the BIM Task Group has been working with the product manufacturing industry. The BIM Task Group authored the Product Data Definition, providing a consistent approach to describing product information in plain language terms, and easing data and information exchange and translation through the lifecycle of an asset. The Construction Products Association is now leading its implementation as LEXiCON, and already have the support of over 70 percent of construction product trade associations to ensure those with the expertise identify what information should be shared.

The ground-breaking work on data infrastructure within the Digital Built Britain programme will help to deliver other Government digital transformation objectives, including building successful UK sectors in smart cities, cyber and physical security and sensors through the Internet of Things. The programme will provide a focus for aligning activity in the areas of BIM and Smart Cities, ensuring a consistent approach to this vital enabler of public services and economic growth.

The Digital Built Britain programme will focus on:

  • Providing departmental support and British Standards for BIM Level 2
  • Increased international trade and opportunities for growth for UK companies
  • Development of BIM Level 3 programme as announced in February 2015 ( )
  • Cyber security
  • Private sector investment and engagement
  • A series of early adopter projects focusing on Level 3A and manufacturing technologies

The BIM Task Group, in association with the British Standard Institute (BSI), also announce that the “BIM Level 2 Guidance: UK edition” will be published at the end of November. This guidance will be available online at

Central to the creation of this guide is the need to help construction industry professionals, clients and asset owner/operators clearly understand the main concepts underpinning Level 2 BIM. The guide is designed to assist the UK industry understand how BIM Level 2 can drive greater performance from its asset delivery and operations teams and so derive greater value from across the lifecycle of assets.

Mark will also announce at the ICE BIM conference that the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) have been appointed to establish a certification scheme for Level 2 BIM.

This coincides with the publication of a document, jointly written with the Construction Products Association, which will be received by Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mark Bew MBE, chair of the BIM Task Group, commented: “Today marks a significant step in the journey to a digital economy for the built environment. The UK has made a significant step in creating a world-class position in delivering capability, standards and capacity in the sector to reduce cost and increase value. The coming together of the BIM and smart city programme into Digital Built Britain will continue this commitment to providing jobs, homes, services and growth to the UK economy”

Peter Caplehorn Deputy CEO and Policy Director of the CPA said “The digitalisation of the construction sector is revolutionising every aspect of the industry has it has done in other areas. Driving up performance reliability efficiency in construction is vital on an industry and national level. The DNA of construction  is the products and ensuring they are fully connected to this sea change is crucial in making digital every day business. The CPA are delighted to support this change and their members through the launch of the LEXICON system”

Simon Hart, BIM Task Group, Innovate UK said: “The use of the UK developed BIM standards is transforming the $10tn global construction sector towards improved productivity, competitiveness and efficiency and providing growth for UK SME’s at the forefront of this technology”.

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