Development Data Sharing PoC

A collaborative approach to sharing data across a development’s lifecycle, from design to demolition

jack ricketts
3 min readMay 19, 2021


In all cases, planning is a function of the public sector, usually the local council. It occupies the space between the private sectors of design and construction, and enables an idea to become reality.

Interview with R Piano, Dezeen May 2012 (left); Ugur Akdemir, Unsplash (right)

Planning is still a flat, two-dimensional, paper based system. However, we now have not only the technology to enable planning to be done differently, but also encouragement to do so from the very highest level — the planning reforms proposed in the planning white paper specifically emphasise digitisation.

How might a planning application become a digital packet of data, rather than PDFs and drawings?

These boxes full — in some cases, rooms full of boxes full — of paper and PDFs only exist because councils can’t consume architects’ and engineers’ 3D designs and building information models.

But what if we could?

In the course of working with MHCLG on the Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA) and Back-office Planning Service (BoPS) projects, it suddenly dawned on me that there was an opportunity to collaborate with the design element of the development lifecycle.

‘Epiphany toilet’ — Scrubs, circa 2008

Can the tools that designers, architects and engineers use everyday also be used to extract and share the information required to assess and decide a planning application. Could this collaborative process even extend to the construction phase of development, with precision manufacturing and modern methods of construction.

There is more to this than I’ll ever understand. I’m a planner. I’m not an architect or an engineer, or a software developer, but I knew that a good place to start would be Miranda and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB).

Together we began to work with a team from Bryden Wood — who were a driving force behind the Prism app, and 3DRepo — an open source BIM platform.

The aim of this project is to create an environment in which a seamless, end-to-end digitised development process can operate and flourish. Our purpose is to demonstrate in a very real and everyday context how data can be made FAIR and open to the widest range of uses and users, while delivering a wealth of benefits that are both immediate and long-lasting.

The idea behind this concept is not to develop a single digital planning product. This project can generate greater benefit by remaining open and accessible to a range of collaborators. Nor is our aim to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel — we are using the data that is already created through the use of BIM, and existing formats for sharing it.

More details of each party’s involvement can be found here

Whilst we have very much been focused on the implications for the planning industry, there are other benefits too. Building Information Modelling (BIM) contains thousands, hundreds-of-thousands, of bits of information, only a small section of which are relevant to ‘planning’. Of potentially greater significance are the implications for monitoring building safety.

For this reason, I’m keen to continue conversations I’ve been having with the HSE, but also investigate whether this work could be linked with Southwark Council’s development of a building safety platform, and the concept of individual building passports.

We’re hoping to be able to continue development of this concept, and I’ll post updates as soon as, but in the meantime, please do get in touch with comments, queries, suggestions or questions.



jack ricketts

Working to make better products and services for Local Government. Ex Local Government (15 years)