Delivering reliable digital data and information management for the Environment Agency’s physical flood and coastal defence assets
“Data compliance and trusting data is essential in the digital world. As we begin to connect more, we need to have trust in asset data and independent assurance is a new approach.”
Karen Alford, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager – Digital Data and Information, Environment Agency
The Environment Agency (EA) is one of the UK central government early adopters for developing data foundations for digital transformation in the built and natural environment.
The Environment Agency is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). With responsibility for protection and enhancement of the environment across England, Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Management Directorate deals with approximately half of the Environment Agency’s annual expenditure to build, maintain, and operate flood defences, maintain rivers, and provide effective flood warnings to communities. Data and information about its extensive flood and coastal defence assets, which are an essential part of the national critical built environment, is as important as the physical assets themselves. Robust data and information assurance is therefore required to ensure that the Agency’s information is findable, accessible, interoperable, re-usable and fit-for-purpose.
The Environment Agency relies heavily on third parties to produce their data and information for flood and coastal defence assets. The procurement processes deal with the purchase, delivery, and some assurance for data and information delivery. However, as part of their digital journey, more specific and detailed assurance against specific data requirements needs to take place to automatically verify data ahead of accepting data and information into their asset management systems, removing the resource burden in manually adding data. The Environment Agency needs to automatically accept and assure Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) files from third parties at the contract “start line” into usable asset information across the business operations “finish line”.
The “Data store, Rules and Visualisation” (DRV) service is a key data foundation component of the Environment Agency’s digital transformation journey in the built environment.
As part of Environment Agency’s Asset Information Management Platform (IMP), the Datastore and Rules assurance component bridges the gap between the contract “start line” and the business operations “finish” line. COBie files from third parties are automatically extracted and assured using rules against contractually defined standards at the point of delivery (start line), before resulting asset information can be stored and used by operational systems at the “finish line”. Defined standards include the Environment Agency’s Data Requirements Library, Employers Information Requirements, Organisation Information Requirements, and Information Delivery Plan. They all define the information that is required by the Environment Agency from both their own internal business operations team and from its third parties for the development of asset projects and for the operation of the completed built asset.