Month: April 2012

openBIM Conference success !

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Posted by thinkBIM founder Claire Walker

Over 50 construction professionals met at Old Broadcasting House in Leeds for a conference based around the idea of ‘OpenBIM’ within the construction industry, a subject which led to discussions regarding BIM to field, BIM Training and Education, what is OpenBIM and how can this be used, as well as a demonstration of BIM technology in action.

The event was hosted by Leeds Metropolitan University’s Centre for Knowledge Exchange, branded as thinkBIM with the aim of delivering an informative programme which engages both delegates and speakers. This conference event focused on OpenBIM which seeks to provide high levels of interoperability between the various technologies that are available on the market and to articulate these to an increasing informed and educated audience in terms of BIM.

The event is part of a regular monthly series of seminars and conferences which were launched by CKE a year ago and last Wednesday began with a keynote presentation from Nick Nisbet of AEC3. Nick is typical of the speakers that thinkBIM attracts and represents the highest authority in the UK on COBie (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange) an important building block in terms of delivering the Governments BIM strategy. The presentation focused on the idea of ‘sharing structured information’ and how the government intend to use this to implement its BIM strategy, with its target of level 2 compliance by 2016, using COBie as a an example of how BIM can fulfil its ‘sharing structured information’ principle.

After hearing from the UK keynote, the group benefitted from a presentation by Parveen Sharma  of Intec Infocom in India being webcast over to the Leeds audience and concerning the use of BIM in his native country. Again thinkBIM seek an international keynote speaker at each of its conferences with the likes of Vico’s CEO having webcast to the group in the past. The presentation included many examples of successful BIM projects in India, and gave valuable case studies of construction such as roads and residential projects which have successfully implemented a BIM approach, interestingly mainly using Revit tools.

The delegate group then split into four round tables, each one focusing on a specific area of BIM within the industry.

Rob Jackson of Bond Bryan Architects provided a demonstration of how BIM can be used successfully on a project, exactly what is possible in terms of scheduling information out of the model data to generate e.g. programmes and the ease and precision that can be achieved.

Kris Bogaerts from Trimble discussed ways of improving BIM into the field – how best to produce physical buildings from the digital models created. The feeling in this group was that contractors appear reluctant to ‘take the dive’ and lead the industry, with many preferring to wait for their competitors to lead on the engagement of BIM. With more companies opting to become involved in BIM projects the ability to drive benefits across the supply chain and deliver these at project level are becoming ever closer.

Adam Matthews is another UK authority in BIM and leads the Government task group for Education and Training and hence held a discussion on training and education of BIM, the needs of different groups with the sector and their wants and the need to provide both technical and business strategic training and learning both in Industry and Academia. Dave Jellings of smartBIMsolutions led the discussion in his groups concerning the recently launched ‘Open BIM’ alliance which includes Graphisoft, Solibri and Tekla and how this supports the business implementation of BIM

The event ended with the usual fast paced and exciting Pecha Kucha session with presentations including James Austin from BIM Technologies, George Mukta from BIMacademy based in Newcastle and with whom thinkBIM closely collaborate and a presentation from Stephen Hamill, from NBS and chair of the event, himself.

thinkBIM was broadcast worldwide through the use of twitter and skype, and can be watched on demand by following the link here. Presentations from the event are also available from the link as well as its Twitter feed.

Other presentations are available to download below.


BIM and Interoperability – thinkBIM – Hamil


What is BIM ?

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The following article was written to introduce PauleyCreative’s excellent BIM Infographic  illustrating the recent NBS BIM survey, providing an important snapshot of our collaborative working BIM journey and future directions.

It was also hosted on the 2degreesnetwork site as part of their BIM series.

It feels the article has been ‘on tour’ and received good responses and comments via twitter and elsewhere, so it seems only correct to ‘bring home’ and post here for readers of this blog. Enjoy, and please do add comments below.

What is BIM?

There are many definitions of BIM, but unfortunately many are wrapped in technical, project management or design terminology.

We can understand and describe BIM as “the total and virtual modelling of all aspects of a project prior to construction, during construction and in use.”

A BIM would typically model all data relating to, for eg, design scenarios, costings, build ability and clash detection, scheduling and procurement, sustainability impact, life cycle and facilities management factors as well as in use predictions. Championed by the Government, milestones are set for achieving increasingly mature levels of BIM. The first being level 2 by 2016.

We should view BIM, not just as new technology but as a continuation of the collaborative working journey within the built environment sector. A journey started, or first articulated, way back in 1934 by Alfred Bossom and core to most sector improvement programmes since, from Latham, Egan, Building Down Barriers, Constructing Excellence, to the recent Never Waste a Good Crisis report.

BIM will be challenging, demanding real collaborative working and sharing of data, knowledge and costings across project parties.

The key to collaborative working being effective and open communications, coupled with trust and importantly being comfortable with sharing within a digital environment. Indeed we need the debate on the potential role of communications, and in particular social media, within BIM environments.

Perhaps understandably, the current BIM agenda is driven by technology and design. But the debate will widen, out of necessity, to include other disciplines such as Facilities Management, Quantity Surveyors, SME contractors, product suppliers and manufacturers, Many of whom still remain unclear as to how work and management will be different when working within BIM projects or suppling equipment to a BIM project.

You may recall a recent Honda advert that played on the expression “everything we do goes into everything we do.”  That ad emphasised how the breadth of Honda’s experience is applied through lean manufacturing to all aspects of their products. This is a great expression we would be wise to adopt to explain how BIM will enable us to bring built environment collective experiences, knowledge, technologies and best practice to every building.

Imagine a built environment industry where the design office, the QS office, the project management team, subcontractors operatives, the manufacturers factory and so on is so lean that everything we do goes into everything we do.

We would be able to reclaim the rule of thumb 30% waste in our sector, improve on safety and sustainability and deliver better, lower cost, fit for use facilities whilst achieving healthy profit levels essential for a sustainable industry.

Increasingly I am helping the contractors that I support on their questions of “what is BIM” and “what do I need” to do through increasing awareness of collaborative working, BIM itself and becoming comfortable with web/social media/digital communication. If you would like to know more please do get in touch or follow the conversations on twitter @fairsnape

(written by Martin Brown)

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