Digital Construction Awards 2023 shortlist: Digital Consultancy of the Year

The Digital Construction Awards attracted more than 140 entries this year, 62 of which have been shortlisted. Here, we detail the shortlisted entries for the Digital Consultancy of the Year.

This category rewards the digital consultancy that has demonstrated excellence and helped their clients transform their businesses or projects through the adoption of digital processes and technologies.

Six entries made the shortlist, including from Bond Bryan Digital, CBRE and Evolve.

Building a smart estate for Manchester Foundation Trust | BIS Consult      

Digital Consultancy shortlist - Planned-expansion-of-Manchester-health-innovation-campus-Citylab-image-MFT
Planned expansion of the Manchester health innovation campus, Citylab (Image: MFT)

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) brought in BIS Consult to help with its smart estate programme, a huge challenge given its complex systems landscape.

MFT is the largest NHS Trust in the UK, with more than 80 managed properties, and the issue of data fragmentation and heavy reliance on manual data processing was resulting in reduced efficiency in project delivery, asset operation, and maintenance activities.

By combining and integrating MFT’s core enterprise systems with new systems and tools which conduct data processing and visualisation, BIS established a new digital ecosystem which leverages the value of estates data to support a range of use-cases.

For example, the consultant identified a benefit in being able to geolocate information for specific buildings, assets or spaces. It introduced ArcGIS Online, a powerful geospatial mapping platform that provides locational intelligence. Using this system to create maps of the estate, MFT can combine disparate data and identify opportunities for improvement in project delivery.

The tools developed have demonstrated tangible benefits and return on investment in a relatively short time frame. MFT has reported reduced manual effort in collating, managing and reporting on the data. Efficiencies gained through greater interoperability could generate estimated savings of 3%, which translates to around £8m a year.

BIS’s work to streamline the energy reporting process was praised by Megan Richold, sustainability data and systems analyst at MFT, who says this has “saved us time each month” and “enabled us to identify crucial information in energy reporting, which supports our goal of achieving net zero by 2038”.

Bond Bryan Digital     

Digital Consultancy shortlist - Bond Bryan Digital Gen Zero DofE Image by Ares Landscape Architects
Bond Bryan Digital worked on the DofE’s Gen Zero project (Image: Ares Landscape Architects)

Bond Bryan Digital takes pride in its ‘information first’ approach and joined up thinking, from defining a project’s requirements through to delivery, which helps its clients embed good information management at the heart of their businesses.

The consultant is leading the industry through its joined-up use of the ISO 19650 standard for management processes, coupled with the IFC (Information Foundation Classes), for information management.

Bond Bryan Digital’s work for the Department for Education (DfE) has attracted acclaim, notably on the Gen Zero project – a prototype for net-zero schools – where it assessed and developed exchange information requirements and resources.

The consultant also helped the DfE write a suite of ISO 19650-compliant information management resources for its £7bn construction framework. It helped define explicit and clear deliverables for every RIBA stage of the framework.

In a spin-off benefit from its DfE work, Bond Bryan Digital was approached by Galliford Try to support its school projects in the £6m-£12m band, working on bids and the delivery phase of all successful tenders. Since early 2022, the consultant has been working across seven school projects to deliver information in accordance with DfE requirements.

Bond Bryan Digital’s other major clients include the Ministry of Justice and Southern Housing Group.

The consultant also plays a significant role in advancing tech adoption across construction. It shares knowledge from its own projects and R&D with the wider industry through initiatives such as the UK BIM Framework and Government and Industry Interoperability Group (GIIG), influencing and driving the direction of the whole built environment sector.

Digital transformation of a global bank’s property function | CBRE Digital Advisory

Digital Consultancy shortlist - CBRE Digital Advisory
The consultant has set out a five-year digital strategy for the bank (Image: CBRE Digital Advisory)

CBRE Digital Advisory was appointed by a FTSE 100 global bank to create a digital and proptech strategy and help the client improve its real estate investment decisions.

The bank has annual revenue of £12.8bn and a global workforce of 85,000, with an internal property function, which manages its global real estate portfolio. However, there was no responsibility for driving innovation, with outdated systems and an inability to evidence the benefits of technology investments.

The first phase of CBRE’s project involved creating a five-year vision and roadmap. This included an assessment of all the bank’s corporate real estate functions, to understand their use of digital technology, plus an actionable roadmap.

In the second phase, CBRE began transitioning the processes identified in the roadmap into the day-to-day operations of the bank. Key deliverables included creating a ‘front door’ decision-making process and establishing a new ‘business technology office’ function within the property team.

CBRE also implemented a best-in-class model for technology investment and prioritisation, with advanced data analytics tools that give the client reliable insights and help it make more informed, data-driven decisions.

Finally, CBRE developed a standardised process for tracking and reporting on key benefits, enabling the client to measure accurately the success of its digital investments and make data-driven decisions. The bank’s improvements in staff retention, productivity, and profitability demonstrate the tangible benefits of the new digital strategy.


Digital Consultancy shortlist - A viewport in CAD showing an Evolve project
A viewport in CAD showing an Evolve project (Image: Evolve)

Evolve has been in business for 18 years and has emerged as one of the UK’s premier BIM, information management and design technology consultancies.

It aims to implement technology and digital solutions to enhance a construction company’s existing design and construction processes and help unlock the potential of the organisation.

Evolve encourages customers to think of their transformation in terms of cultural development, rather than technological change. One marker of the success of this approach is that more than 80% of Evolve’s work is from repeat customers.

Many of Evolve’s customers say their new business culture has led to a more cohesive approach to projects. Clients using the BIM processes introduced through Evolve report better clarity on projects, less risk and a better product with fewer issues and improved client satisfaction. One positive spin-off from this, according to Evolve’s research, is that designers have between 15% and 30% of their time freed up to spend on design optimisation, collaborative working and detailed checking and coordination.

Evolve’s strategy also emphasises engagement and mentoring with its customers’ staff, developing the skillsets of the whole workforce so they rely less on ‘super users’ and ‘champions’.

The company says that for customers that have implemented BIM and information management as part of their daily operations, “they don’t think of BIM as innovation anymore; instead, they think of it as the confidence and assurance to deliver their projects successfully”.

Digital transformation for EKFB information management on HS2 Phase 1 | Laminar Projects

Digital Consultancy shortlist - EFKB HS2 Chiltern Tunnel image HS2
EFKB is working on HS2’s Chiltern Tunnel (Image: HS2)

Laminar was appointed by the EKFB (Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and BAM Nuttall) joint venture to introduce new digital solutions and instill a ‘data culture’ on its HS2 Phase 1 project.  

The consultancy has helped introduce state-of-the-art technical solutions to address persistent industry challenges such as siloed information and poor data quality.

One of Laminar’s key innovations was the creation of a central data warehouse, hosted by MS Azure. The system needed to work with existing project systems, operate at scale, and be flexible enough to incorporate new data for further requirements. The warehouse uses cloud technology to integrate data across six systems and from three organisations and includes live pipelines from data in siloed project systems, enabling timely access to the latest project information.

This provides EFKB with near real-time data visualisation, enabling actionable insights, accessed through a suite of interactive reporting dashboards which Laminar created. It gives all project stakeholders information about how processes and key deliverables are progressing across the various project systems.

This approach provides a single source-of-truth for the project, increasing trust and improving collaboration, and resulting in 209 hours a week in time saved looking for information. Laminar also estimates that time saved through automation of data collection, report generation and improved data access saves the equivalent of 85 full-time employees.

Lucy Rowsell, EKFB head of information management, says: “Laminar has identified and implemented innovative solutions to business challenges, enabling our business to improve performance and productivity.”

ONE Creative Environments

Digital Consultancy shortlist - ONE is deploying its digital solution on operational higher-risk buildings (image: Dreamstime)
ONE is deploying its digital solution on operational higher-risk buildings (Image: Dreamstime)

ONE Creative Environments is a multi-disciplinary design company with 55 staff which specialises in digital construction. It has recently focused on helping clients get to grips with new industry legislation.

The consultant’s ONE Engage initiative uses digital information management to connect landlords, residents and Fire & Rescue Services (FRS), helping them address the requirements of the latest building safety legislation.

ONE Engage has recently been accepted onto the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Golden Thread Pilot Project (Phase 3), which will determine best practice for organisational information management within the FRS and between duty holders and the FRS. This will result in the production of NFCC national guidance for FRS and supporting case studies of best practice.

In addition, ONE is about to embark on a pilot project with a tier 1 contractor to deploy the solution on operational higher-risk buildings in collaboration with a local council. This pilot project will allow ONE Engage to be tested on a higher-risk building currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment with tenants in-situ.

ONE TwinVis is the consultant’s climate emergency initiative. A digital carbon monitoring tool, used at RIBA Stage 7 and beyond, it helps clients achieve their net-zero goals. ONE believes in “practicing what it preaches” and has tested the initiative on its own headquarters. After benchmarking its energy consumption, it identified the need for LED lighting, an air source heat pump and intelligent controls. ONE aims to reach net zero by 2026.

Celebrate with the best

The winners of the Digital Innovation in Health, Safety and Wellbeing category, alongside the victors of the other 11 categories, will be revealed at the awards dinner on 4 July at the Brewery in London.

You can join them by booking your places at the awards. There is an early bird discount of for those who book tables before 5pm on 19 May.

The Digital Construction Awards celebrate best practice and reward innovation in the application of BIM and digital technology in the built environment sector.

The awards are run by Digital Construction Week, the Chartered Institute of Building, and Construction Management and BIMplus.

Awards sponsors include the Association for Project Safety, BIMcollab, Bluebeam, Everwarm, Graitec, nima, Procore, Revizto and Sir Robert McAlpine.

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