The Institute for Digital Innovation in the Built Environment (IDIBE) uses technology and digital innovation to find answers to the big questions and challenges in relation to the built environment.
The digital world is one of radical possibility. Provocative ideas around new technologies are shaping the way the built environment is created, sustained and managed — and we're leading the charge.
Drawing on digital advances such as building information modelling (BIM), smart cities, big data and the internet of things, IDIBE dedicated to improving process and cost-efficiencies, promoting sustainable futures, and enabling social and cultural transformations.
We interrogate digital innovation as it strives to enhance the design, construction and operation of buildings, systems and cities. Continued dialogue between our academic research and role as educators with policy makers and practitioners marks our commitment to a collaborative and integrated digital future.
Innovation at the cutting edge of digital systems and future trends can change the world — for the better. We are global pioneers in this vision.
The Institute for Digital Innovation is committed to finding cutting-edge solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The Institute's world-class research brings together UCL’s expertise in engineering and computer science, while incorporating the social and behavioural sciences.
IDIBE's interdisciplinary approach provides a central focal point for innovation to happen, while our outward-looking culture strengthens our international connections and transformational reach.
Current research projects
- The ‘Total Performance’ of Low Carbon Buildings in China and the UK
This project, co-investigated by Professor Tim Broyd, is a collaboration between UCL and the Tsinghua University School of Architecture, Beijing. It seeks to balance the needs of low carbon and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the UK and China to inform policy making.
There are four broad stages to the research:
- examining the different contexts within which buildings have been designed and constructed and how they are used and operated internationally.
- building on this analysis by undertaking a monitoring campaign in China and the UK to allow comparisons between the performance of the same types of building in two different contexts.
- developing a unique database relating to the interlinked performance gaps which will help identify the most suitable buildings that will integrate monitoring and modelling approaches in the next phase.
- developing semi-automated building assessment methods, technologies and tools to enable rapid characterisation of the probable pathologies to determine the most cost effective route to remedy the underlying causes of energy/IEQ underperformance.
The study intends to lead understanding and improvements in the total performance of low carbon buildings helping to develop effective policies and regulations in the transition to low carbon cities.
Professor Tim Broyd, Institute Director
Tim Broyd is Professor of Built Environment Foresight at The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and Director of IDIBE. He is also an Honorary Professor of Civil Engineering at UCL.
In his role at UCL, Tim works with industry, government and academia to understand and prepare for the future challenges and opportunities in the built environment. He is a leading advocate for building information modelling (BIM) and a founding member of the UK Government’s BIM Task Group.
Professor Michael Pitt, Professor of Facility Management Information
Michael Pitt is Professor of Facility Management Innovation at The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction. He has been involved in property, facilities, project and asset management research and teaching since 1990.
- Internal advisory board
IDIBE's internal advisory board is made up of representatives from across UCL who are pushing boundaries in research and teaching relating to the digital built environment:
- Dr Jan Boehm, Senior Lecturer at the UCL Department of Civil Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE)
- Professor Jon French, Head of Department, UCL Department of Geography
- Professor Andy Hudson-Smith, Director of The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA)
- Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, Director of The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER)
- Professor Yvonne Rogers, Director of UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC)
- Professor Jeremy Watson, Professor of Engineering Systems in the UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), Vice-Dean (Mission) at the UCL Faculty of Engineering
The Institute for Digital Innovation works in partnership with industry, government and other academic organisations, to ensure that the research carried out has a practical impact in the real world.
We invite collaborators interested in academic research projects, industry-sponsored research and/or consultancy services across the spectrum of digital innovation in the built environment. Professionals, engineers, scientists and policymakers come to us seeking to understand the role of digital innovation in the built environment.
Recent consultancy projects
- Digital Built Britain BIM Level 3 Strategic Plan
Commissioned by the UK Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and published in February 2015, this world-leading strategy sets out how the UK can further develop digital technology used in the construction industry and wider built environment to encompass the full lifetime of a building or infrastructure facility.
Digital Built Britain is a strategy to maintain the UK’s global leadership role in the application of BIM in both construction and the wider digital economy.
The strategy aims to integrate the technologies transforming the UK's approach to infrastructure development and construction with the aim of making fully virtual construction the norm in the UK and ensuring that the benefits of these technologies are felt across the country.
- Future Cities Catapult project on City-Scale BIM
The Institute was commissioned by the Future Cities Catapult to deliver the research and foresight report City Scale Building Information Modelling - State of the Art Research as part of their Integrated Urban Planning theme. Delivered in conjunction with the University of Northumbria and IntraTeamIT, the report considers how building information modeling might scale up to the city level.
Although largely invisible, the foundations for big data and predictive data analytics are being laid across our cities. BIM as it is commonly referred to, uses digital descriptions of built assets in a 3D environment, providing a process for creating, sharing and managing information during planning, design, construction and management.
Geoffrey Stevens, Urban Internet of Things Manager at Future Cities Catapult, said:
“Cities are complex systems made up of buildings, infrastructure and people, and their interactions and exchanges. BIM has huge potential beyond just new buildings, to help design and operate buildings in a way that increases efficiency, wellbeing and productivity. This report highlights ideas from multiple sectors, showing how BIM could optimise the existing built environment, and better provide for cities and their citizens."
Interoperability with other digital city systems to support open information sharing will be one change high on the agenda of possible next steps. A series of provocations for how BIM might coincide with city life in 2050 were also developed. These all assume a default position of open data and imagine a future where new data sources and forecasting/modelling capabilities are developed in citizen centric and citizen comprehensible ways.
Over the next 30 years such developments will open critical questions on the ownership of digital knowledge, as citizen data, algorithms and machines mesh together to drive city intelligence.