Making compliance less complicated: new digital ecosystem to support development of ‘Golden Thread’ of information

The Construction Innovation Hub has partnered up with Cardiff University and its Digital Compliance (D-COM) Network, to develop a ‘digital ecosystem’ to support construction firms in navigating the complex regulatory landscape with greater ease and certainty.

The digital ecosystem will, for the first time, integrate and make more accessible, the web of tools and data sources that firms must use as part of the compliance process. As well as driving greater and more consistent levels of compliance, the new digital ecosystem should also help to reduce costs and administrative burdens for construction businesses.

Digitisation of compliance processes will bring wider tangible benefits, including:

  • Greater certainty that all regulatory requirements are being met;
  • Reduction in time and resource spent in investigating root causes of failure;
  • Increased transparency through the central collection, and management of compliance data for the UK construction industry; and,
  • Improved auditability provided through digitised compliance processes supporting efforts to create a ‘Golden-Thread’ of information.

The digital ecosystem builds on groundwork laid by Digital Compliance (D-COM) Network in 2018 and directly supports the ambitions of the CLC ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ by developing a digital ecosystem that assists in the delivery of high-quality, better-performing buildings. The ecosystem also addresses the need identified by the MHCLG Expert Group on Structure of Guidance to the Building Regulations for a more “holistic and systems-based approach and allow for greater cross-referencing between technical requirements and the wider legislative requirements”.

This digital ecosystem is due to be completed by August 2022 with the main objectives of:

  • Digitalising selected Approved Documents, including:
    • Part B (Fire Safety)
    • Part L (Conservation of fuel and power)
    • Part M (Access to and use of buildings)
  • Developing a digital ecosystem (including an open platform API) to facilitate automating parts of the Building Regulations compliance checking process; and,
  • Demonstrating a proof-of-concept of the digital ecosystem to support the Construction Innovation Hub’s Platform Construction System, developed to help change the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within our built environment.

Construction Innovation Hub Programme Director Keith Waller said:

Robust rules and standards are crucial to ensuring the quality and safety of our buildings and infrastructure and maintaining public trust and confidence in our built environment. We must, however, recognise that the more complex our regulatory landscape becomes, the more challenging it is for construction firms to ensure full compliance.

By joining forces with Cardiff University and its D-COM Network to create this new digital ecosystem, we aim to simplify the regulatory landscape for construction firms, driving greater levels of compliance and reducing the administrative and financial burden associated with failure to meet rules and standards.”

Dr Tom Beach of Cardiff University said: 

The UK construction regulatory landscape is becoming increasingly challenging, with, not just an increasing number of regulations, requirements and standards, but also the increasing need for auditability in all aspects of compliance checking.

As leader of the D-COM network, Cardiff University has led work proposing a vision for new open digital compliance ecosystem that can integrate regulations, assessors and project teams along with the wide variety of software tools needed to operate compliance processes in the modern built environment.

We believe that our approach can ensure auditable compliance processes, while reducing administrative burden and increasing productivity. Furthermore, we see this open ecosystem as paving the way for the development of a new generation of compliance.

Working with the Construction Innovation Hub, we now have the potential to deliver on this vision for a free and open digital compliance ecosystem.”


Further Information 

  • To contact the Construction Innovation Hub’s press office, please email [email protected].
  • To read MHCLG’s report in full, click here
  • The D-COM Network was formed to drive forward the adoption of the digitisation of regulations, requirements and compliance checking systems in the built environment. It was provided initial funding by the Centre for Digital Built Britain. Since then, it has evolved and published two free to access reports on the state of digitised regulatory compliance in the UK. The Construction Innovation Hub propose to offer two further years continuation funding in order to maintain network activity with the primary purpose of facilitating successful delivery and dissemination of the project, as well as support the wider transforming construction movement.
  • Project partners include:
    • Construction Innovation Hub: The Construction Innovation Hub brings together world-class expertise from the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), BRE and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to transform the UK construction industry. Working around the four core themes of Value, Manufacturing, Assurance and Digital, we are changing the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within our built environment.
    • Cardiff University: The School of Engineering at Cardiff University came top in REF2014 in UoA B14 Civil and Construction Engineering. Specifically, as part of the School of Engineering, the BRE Trust Centre for Sustainable Engineering will be participating in this bid. This centre as an established track record of conducting high quality research related to digitisation in the built environment.
    • Process Innovation Factory (PIF): is innovation management not for profit company, where challenges are matched with innovative solutions. It scouts for ideas and innovations and graduates these within the AECO (architectural, engineering, construction & operations) industry sector groups.  PIF specialises in innovation management, discovery projects, developing business from innovations, the industrialisation of products and processes, and scaling to market. It provides business support and diligence for innovation.
    • AEC3: AEC3 is an international consultancy focussed on process and information improvement for built assets, advising governments, and major contractors and design/engineering companies and software houses. It strongly supports open standards and buildingSMART, ISO, CEN and BSI.  AEC3 will be represented by Nicholas Nisbet. Nick has been involved in BIM for 42 years, including the development of ISO 12911, BS1192, BS 1192 part 4 and PAS1192 part 6. Key roles in many high-profile, successful projects, to name a few- ICC SmartCodes project (2007) and the US Army ERDC Facility Compliance Checking project (2008).
    • Solibri: develops and markets software solutions that improve the quality of building information models (BIM) and included datasets for building owners, designers and constructors. Focuses on automating model checks using logical user and configurable rules as well as analysing and validating the integrity & quality of the design and constructability, with a particular focus on checking compliance with building codes, industry, company or project-specific standards or any user-defined requirements using open standards.
Projects: Information Management