- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 20 Mar 2019
The benefits of a Digital Built Britain
With the BRE Cities Convention 2018 just a few weeks away, two of the speakers, both leading lights of the built environment, provide an insight into what is really driving connected, smart places and a Digital Built Britain.
“The drive for a Digital Built Britain resulted from the pressing need for a more productive, efficient way of planning, building and maintaining assets. The construction and infrastructure sectors had been notoriously slow to embrace technology and data-centred ways of working.”
The Government Construction Strategy, published in May 2011, sought to reduce the cost of government construction projects by 15-20%. It included the phased roll-out of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Fully-collaborative 3D BIM was mandated on centrally-procured construction contracts in 2016.
Today, the vision for a fully Digital Built Britain is being championed by the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge. A partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University, it seeks to deliver a ‘smart digital economy’ for infrastructure and construction – one that puts the needs of citizens and their environment at its centre.
Olly continues: “In addition to our existing, ageing infrastructure, we face the challenge from diminishing resource to fund new infrastructure. These problems make a new approach ever more important.”
At the same time as organisations strive to connect people and places, and drive much greater economic, social and environmental value through planning, design, construction and operation, huge steps are being taken to connect people and buildings.
What’s driving this? It’s a mix of interrelated conundrums…
Research by the British Council for Offices looking at productivity in offices demonstrated that poorly performing buildings currently cost us £2,000 per individual in lost productivity each year. In addition, research by Innovate UK showed the energy consumption in buildings is on average 3-4 times the original designed energy performance. This leads to significant costs for companies and the UK economy, not to mention the impact on the individuals working and expecting to perform in these buildings.
Susie Tomson, lead consultant at Entelligently, explains:
“Our vision for Entelligently was to increase performance, wellbeing and productivity by improving staff comfort, satisfaction, productivity and organisational reputation, empower buildings users through ‘snudges’ – smart nudges – providing users with information so they can influence their own comfort as well as the building’s sustainability outcomes, and target energy performance.”
“We connect the comfort and reported reason for discomfort in real time, recording it alongside the current internal and external environmental conditions. This helps people influence their own comfort as well as identifying those really poorly performing areas of a building where infrastructure changes may be required,” Susie continues.
“The major benefit is increased comfort that leads to improved staff wellbeing. This is key to productivity: comfortable, healthy staff who feel valued and stay longer, reducing staff turnover and sickness rates and increasing productive time.”
For landlords and building owners, providing an ongoing measure of building performance from the view of building user, their tenants, can be valuable. This insight can evidence a quality workspace, proactively engage with tenants and improve tenant retention.
Olly Thomas and Susie Tomson will both be speaking at the BRE Cities Convention on 27-28 November 2018.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
ECA backs call for a rolling programme of rail electrification.
What does 'curtilage' mean and why does it matter?
Our duty to prevent harm and protect each other.
A quality perspective.
If buildings were people, they would be just starting to walk on two legs.
Air filtration and clean air standards.
The Dukes of Normandy and the second world war.
Conserving structures in historic designed landscapes.
Online platform to showcase acoustic solutions.
The drivers of value and how it is measured.
Do you know your Ionic from your Doric?