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Major milestone reached in development of a National Digital Twin of the UK’s Built Environment

the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s National Digital Twin programme has published The Pathway towards an Information Management Framework: a Commons for a Digital Built Britain, setting out the technical approach for the development of an Information Management Framework (IMF) to enable secure, resilient data sharing across the built environment. 

The publication of the report by CDBB, in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub, is a critical milestone towards a National Digital Twin as it sets out what the IMF is, and what steps need to be taken to put it in place. It follows a year-long consultation exercise, led by CDBB as a partner in the Construction Innovation Hub, bringing together leading experts from the data science and information management communities to collectively tackle the challenge of improving data sharing across the built environment sectors.  

The way that digital twins are connected is important to ensuring security and improving the resilience of assets and systems. The goal of the IMF is to establish a common language by which digital twins of the built and natural environment can communicate securely and effectively to support improved decision taking by those operating, maintaining and using built assets and the services they provide to society. Its development by CDBB was recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission in 2017’s Data for the Public Good report and HM Government’s Construction Sector Deal. 

The technical report is published alongside a high-level summary, detailing the NDT programme’s approach to leading a cultural shift to reduce the technological, commercial and cultural barriers that prevent effective data sharing. 

The report launches an open consultation seeking feedback on the proposed approach and engagement within the evolving framework. 

Alexandra Bolton, Executive Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain said: 

“The Centre for Digital Built Britain is committed to delivering smarter, brighter futures that benefit our society and planet. The National Digital Twin programme, through the DT Hub and in partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub is leading a cultural shift toward purpose-driven digital strategies and connected digital twins that deliver genuine public good.   

“Over the past year we have brought together the nation’s leading innovators to collectively explore how to harness and unlock the potential of connected digital twins. I am delighted to see the culmination of the work being published today, and look forward to seeing how the programme can progress the global digital twin agenda.” 

Mark Enzer, Head of the National Digital Twin Programme said: 

“I would really like to thank everyone who has come together over the past 18 months to help develop this proposed pathway towards an Information Management Framework. It represents a huge amount of work and exemplifies the collaborative approach that will be needed as we seek to enable an ecosystem of connected digital twins – the National Digital Twin. 

“The challenge is sizeable, but the promise is huge: better outcomes coming from better decisions based on better connected data. And, working with industry, academia and Government all pulling together, we can deliver it. So, I’d urge you to join with us on this journey and help us build consensus on the way forward.” 

Keith Waller, Programme Director of the Construction Innovation Hub said: 

“As Britain starts building again, we have a unique opportunity to start doing things differently in the construction and infrastructure sectors. Embracing new digital ways of working will be vital to ensuring that we continue the journey of transformation begun under the Construction Sector Deal. 

“Through our close collaboration with the National Digital Twin programme and our Digital programme’s development of digital twins and the UK BIM Framework, we want to drive a step change towards greater productivity, predictability and resilience, and ultimately create greater value through improved data sharing.” 

The consultation on the IMF is open until 31 August and responses can be submitted via the following link: https://www.cdbb.cam.ac.uk/news/pathway-towards-IMF