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Consolidating Concepts: Scope


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During December, the Digital Twin Hub and BSI hosted a Digital Twin Standards Landscape Workshop based on the recently published Draft Standards Landscape Report (final version to follow).  The workshop highlighted the need to prioritize the development of a standard outlining the concepts and principles related to digital twins for the built environment.   

This post explores, at high level, what such a standard might cover and asks you, the reader, to consider the questions posed to inform how it is potentially developed.  Please comment under this post with any answers you may have or insights you wish to share; referencing the question were relevant. 


There are many types of standards.  BS 0, the standard for standards, provides a list of different types of British Standard.  When producing concepts and principles, these are typically drafted as a guide: 


A guide primarily contains information and guidance. It may also include recommendations where appropriate but these are generally of a nature that would not support reliable claims of compliance. 

Such a guide would need to follow the structure given within the ISO/IEC directives

  • Foreword 
  • Introduction 
  • Scope 
  • Normative References 
  • Terms and Definitions 
  • Clauses and Sub-clauses 
  • Annexes 
  • Bibliography 


The introduction provides specific information or commentary about the content of the document.  While optional, introductions help provide context.  The introduction is a great place to outline why such a standard is needed as well as the benefits it helps to realize. 

Question 1: What context would you like the introduction to cover?  For example: How the document supports the concept of data for the public good. 


The scope defines the subject of the document and the aspects covered.  In developing the standards roadmap, a provisional scope has already been written! 



This [part of] standard provides an overview of the general principles of a digital twin for the built environment, including the terms and definitions 

This [part of] standard is applicable to the digital representation of: 

•    assets, such as: Roads, Rail, Facilities and Buildings; 

•    systems, such as: Transport Systems, Energy Networks, and Heating Systems; and 

•    processes, such as: Resilience planning and Preventative maintenance. 

It is applicable to all applications of digital twins within the built environment.  

It is not applicable to the selection of assets, systems and processes to be represented by digital twins. 



Question 2: Does this scope capture what this document needs to cover? 

Normative References: 

Lists documents cited within the normative clauses needed to understand the content.  Standards such as BS EN ISO 19650-1 may need to be cited, for example, and would appear as a normative reference. 

Question 3: What documents do you think will need to be cited? 

Terms and Definitions: 

Lists the definitions necessary to understand the terms used in the document.  As a new domain, there will likely be several terms and definitions which will need to be captured beyond the terms typically used within the built environment.  Many of which may already be included within the DT Hub Glossary

Question 4: What terms and definitions do you think will need to be included? 

Clauses and Sub-clauses: 

The normative content of the document.  Unlike a management system standard, there is not a defined structure for a set of concepts and principles.  As referenced within the Draft Standards Landscape Report, ISO/DIS 23247-1 outlines the concepts and principles of digital twins for manufacturing.  Within, it uses the following structure (adapted to suit the built environment):



  • Overview of Digital Twin for the Built Environment 
    • Concept of the Digital Twin 
    • Digital Twin for the Built Environment 
    • Applications (Uses) of Digital Twin for the Built Environment 
    • Benefits of Digital Twin for the Built Environment 
    • Observable Built Environment Elements 
  • General Principles of the Digital Twin Framework for the Built Environment 
    • Overview 
    • Standardization Scope of the Digital Twin Framework for the Built Environment 
    • Requirements of the Digital Twin for the Built Environment 
    • Hierarchical modelling of Digital Twin for the Built Environment 



Question 5: Do these headings capture what this document needs to cover? 


And there we have it, the potential outline of the concepts and principles standard related to digital twin for the built environment.  Please let us know your thoughts by commenting on the five questions posed, or if there is anything else you wish to raise. 

In addition, there will also be a workshop 10:00-12:00 on the 11th of February to discuss this topic in detail, so please mark your calendars (invites to follow).  Your views are invaluable as we steadily realize the National Digital Twin programme, share them here!  


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The workshop registration is now live! See further details in our events calendar: 


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On 15/01/2021 at 16:54, Anto said:

Hi there, the link to Draft Standards Landscape Report seems to be broken. Thanks.

Hi Anto

Thanks for flagging this - I've just tested it and it seems to be ok now if you want to have another try. 


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