Home » Report: UK can ‘build back better’ only if construction embraces digital

Report: UK can ‘build back better’ only if construction embraces digital

by Liam Turner
An architect working on a digital building

Improving digital capabilities in the construction and built environment sectors will boost productivity and deliver better whole-life value for assets.

That’s according to the Construction Innovation Hub, whose new report, The Digital Innovation Imperative: Advancing progress towards a digital built Britain report reflects on the digital transformation of the UK’s built environment in the decade since the announcement of the government’s BIM mandate.

Its findings suggest the UK is well placed to “build back better” – but only if the construction and built environment sectors continue to strengthen foundational digital capabilities and increase the rate of innovation.

The report aims to give practitioners and organisations in the built environment a greater understanding of the benefits of expanding their digital capabilities.

It identifies best and emerging practice across six core capability categories: governance, value, systems thinking, information management, built and natural environment, and skills.

The report also directs readers toward a range of case studies and resources to help develop their digital skills.

The Construction Innovation Hub’s report follows the announcement earlier in the week of a refreshed Information Management Mandate, that will replaced the 2016 BIM mandate, in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030.

Digital ways of working

Commenting on the report, Keith Waller, programme director of the Construction Innovation Hub, said: “The success of the UK’s BIM programme has shown that digital adoption is key to improving productivity and delivering better whole-life value from our assets.

“Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, it has never been clearer that digital ways of working are also critical to the resilience and sustainability of the sector more broadly. 

“Driving the adoption of digital tools and processes is a key pillar of the Hub’s mission to transform the performance and productivity of the construction sector.

“Insights from data and the application of new technologies will ensure the decisions we make about our built environment today enable a bright future for tomorrow.”

Mark Enzer, director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain said: “The economic case for digital transformation has been proven, our research has shown that every £1 invested in Information Management could generate cost savings of £6.90 – £7.40 over time.

“Now we must work together to reach a critical mass of people and organisations with the right digital skills to improve the safety, security, and sustainability of the built environment.

“The sector has made significant progress over the past decade, thanks to government-funded industry and academic programmes and passionate communities of volunteers.

“This report gives recognition to many of the existing and emerging initiatives and, for the first time, brings their work together to provide a practical guide for industry on resources that can support their digital transformation.”

The findings in the report are qualitative and subjective.

The report is based on workshops, stakeholder interviews and desk-based research conducted by Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and Clementine Consulting for the Centre for Digital Built Britain, as partners of the Construction Innovation Hub.

Image: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

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