ThinkBIM

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Category: Digital Built Britain

Process, Case Study & a Red Kite: how SES is using BIM – Wednesday 1st March 17

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Not our most succinct event title but three linked presentations covering a good number of the current BIM issues. Originally we had hoped that CIBSE would present on the new BIMHawk tool that has been developed but at fairly short notice they had to pull out of presenting. But never ones to let a little thing like losing a speaker thinkBIM called upon its fantastic network of BIM professionals and immediately plugged the gap with Nick Tune, CEO of CoBuilder in the UK.

However to start the evening it was great to get a presentation and live demonstration from Gavin Dunstan, BIM Operations Manager from our series sponsors SES Engineering Services. Gavin shared a great overview of how SES Engineering Services have adopted BIM to suit their requirements as well as how they have progressed to embed more and more digital workflows into their businesses as well as using these to collaborate with their customers on projects.

For some reason live demonstrations often turn into a fraught strategy for presentations – in theory why would anything go wrong with the software you use all the time but for some reason adding in an audience into the same room and the software always seems to make things a bit more risky!! However, with his colleague Richard driving the laptop, Gavin’s demonstration of Autodesk BIM360 ran smoothly.

As mentioned at the top of this post our second speaker was Nick Tune, CEO of CoBuilder UK and a great data enthusiast. Nick is always good value and opened with a great slide of a TV remote – and perhaps what we really need them to do – with the opening question ‘What data do you need?’

Nick went on to give the audience a great overview on how to define, procure and confirm data in the BIM process using COBie, PLQs, PDTs, PDS and the LEXiCON project with the BRE.

This month’s twilight seminar was chaired by the good friend of thinkBIM, regional chair of CIBSE and major CPD logger – Simon Owen from Calibre Search. As well as keeping everything to time and asking some great questions he has also created a great Storify of our event too which can be viewed at the link below.

 

 

 

BIM for FM – still not quite there….

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Paul Wilkinson

Guest post by Paul Wilkinson, thinkBIM ambassador and Director, pwcom.co.uk Ltd

ThinkBIM focused on FM, and provided detailed pointers to FM professionals on both how to get involved with BIM, and why it makes commercial sense.

The latest ThinkBIM half-day conference (on 6 July at Squire Patton Boggs new offices in Leeds, and sponsored by Trimble and GroupBC) looked, once again, at the use of building information modelling by those working in facilities management, operations and maintenance for owner-operator organisations, and yet – on a show of hands – only a small handful of attendees were actually employed in FM. The day therefore repeatedly returned to what government and industry needs to do to get more FM professionals engaged with BIM.

Keynotes

The business case for BIM has been well made by the UK Government’s BIM Task Group since 2011, and regular ThinkBIM keynote speaker Deborah Rowland (currently director of FM at the Ministry of Justice) has been at the forefront in pushing the BIM for FM message in the public sector, citing Government Soft Landings (GSL). She underlined how asset management is fundamental to BIM-enabled project delivery, with client facilities managers involved from a project’s inception in helping to define the employer’s information requirements (EIR) and asset information management (AIM) needs.

PAS 1192-3 covering information management in the operational phase was published in March 2014, and since then advice, standards and protocols covering FM inputs to BIM and beyond have expanded. Deborah highlighted recent useful additions, notably a RICS-developed NRM3 dLCC (digital lifeycle cost) toolkit which aligns BIM with SFG20 maintenance information needs (more about SFG20 here). The MoJ’s BIM2AIM group also recently launched a suite of documents providing clear and concise instruction and guidance on how to define, procure and deliver Level 2 BIM projects (read BIM+ news).

The MoJ’s strategy envisages such tools providing, among other things, much-needed transparency and evidence of value for money to taxpayers, while providing the MoJ with key information to make strategic decisions on its asset portfolio, to innovate, and to continually improve. Surely, many other client organisations will want to reap similar benefits?

FM

 Jacqueline Walpole, Company Product Manager at FSI (FM Solutions)

The second keynote came from FSI’s Jacqueline Walpole. She recalled how many FMs were once a paper-based afterthought: typically, for the client or owner-operator, the completion of a built asset was followed, nine months later, by the handover of a large paper-based archive of information, much of it in paper-based form, some of it already out-of-date. Computer-aided FM (CAFM), therefore, often tended to start from scratch. Digitising design, construction, commissioning and handover processes, she said, opens up the prospect of a digital flow of information into FM (“keeping the BIM live”), achieving operational readiness almost instantly, and Jacqueline highlighted the publication of a new BIFM guide (available here) to achieving such readiness, which includes an EIR template.

The two short keynotes, therefore, promoted readily available toolkits, guides and templates showing how BIM can be applied to support FM, and, in so doing, to enhance the roles of facilities managers. Two of the afternoon’s roundtable workshop sessions also underlined the potential value of data to help managers improve the performance of their assets and to connect their built asset’s data with valuable data held in other systems, but recurring themes about people and silo cultures also surfaced.

Roundtable discussion

Jacqueline Walpole chaired one of the roundtables I attended, getting delegates to consider, first, consider what data might be needed to support asset operations (with a nod to ‘lean’ thinking: “if in doubt, ask the caretaker – what are their ‘must haves’?”), and how some data schemas manage simple issues such as floor-numbering. Secondly, we talked about how in-service performance data might be used to support asset management. Applying analogies including cars and jet engines, we talking about creating and maintaining a built asset’s “service history,” and using the data generated by different building systems’ sensors to improve reliability and energy efficiency. Just as Rolls-Royce routinely collates huge volumes of data from every engine and flight as a basis for meeting its customers’ service level agreements, so facilities managers could collate and analyse built environment data (energy use, temperature, humidity, heating, lighting, equipment use, etc, over time) to support post-occupancy evaluation, optimize lifecycle cost efficiency, and – for ‘repeat clients’ – provide data to help them collaborate with design teams to improve the planning, design, construction and operation of future built assets.

GroupBC’s Steve Crompton led a roundtable pondering trust issues and other reasons why construction project teams have tended to re-key rather than re-use data. Conflicting standards, industry inertia and resistance to major people and process-related changes quickly cropped up. Old attitudes of ‘knowledge is power’ need to be overcome, as does distrust of ‘other people’s data’ (“We don’t trust digital data yet, because we haven’t moved on from distrusting paper information, or stuff off the web”). This workshop also highlighted some of the messages from the 1 June ThinkBIM ‘twilight’ event (link here) – semantic web technologies can help connect data about built assets to other data about the environment and about social aspects of the areas around those built assets. However, security, commercial confidentiality and personal privacy concerns all need to be addressed in selecting what data might be shared and used.

Feedback from all the workshops was shared, after which delegates heard a ‘RetroBIM’ case study from BIM Academy’s Graham Kelly, relating to the compilation of data to support improvement works undertaken at Sydney Opera House in Australia. That a UK-based firm led this project is another indication of how UK BIM experience is prized by clients worldwide, and there is clearly potential for UK FM businesses to similarly become world leaders in applying BIM to FM.

The conference, well chaired by NBS’s Stephen Hamil, showcased some of the standards and guidance now available, talked about the return on investment (ROI), but also – unlike some software vendors mentioned by Graham (“BIM software companies have raised uninformed expectations”) – highlighted it is not a simple technological change. ‘Silo cultures’ and ‘change management’ were two of the key risks on Graham’s project, and they apply equally to the wider adoption of BIM, and not just by the FM community.

Connecting Project Data beyond the site – Thoughts from June #tbim2016

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On Wednesday 1st June 2016 we held our second operations and in-use BIM seminar which focussed on the wider application of built environment digital data and how it can be usefully shared and utilised. ThinkBIM steering group member Paul Wilkinson shares his thoughts on the evening below.

 

Paul WilkinsonOpen Data, BIM and the Semantic Web

Guest Post by Paul Wilkinson. (Please note this post first appeared on Extranet Evolution on 2nd June – link here)

The latest ThinkBIM ‘twilight’ seminar, held in Leeds yesterday (1 June 2016), looked at the wider application of data relating to the built environment. Too many BIM events focus purely on the creation and use of data within a built asset project team; some extend the discussion to look at reuse of data for facility management, operation and maintenance; but few BIM events look at how some BIM and other built environment data might be connected to other data or even made more widely available, perhaps as open data.

Becoming more open

So far as BIM is concerned, the UK government’s 2011 insistence on BIM processes generating “open shareable asset information” is often assumed simply to be about ensuring data is interoperable: capable of being shared between different applications, operating systems and IT hardware. However, the first word is also strongly linked with the UK government’s wider digital agenda – the February 2015 Digital Built Britain strategy (strongly endorsed in the recent 2016 Government Construction Strategy and leading us towards BIM Level 3), for example, is not just about construction, but a fusion of industry strategies relating also to business and professional services, future cities and the information economy.

Discussions about open data are increasingly common, particularly in the UK, where the government has set out to be a world leader in creation and reuse of open data (it recently ranked first in an Open Data Barometer league table of international performance), with data valued as a key part of our national infrastructure (however, in December 2015, the Open Data Institute wrote an open letter to Lord Adonis, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, arguing data is not being given “the same importance as our road, railway and energy networks were given in the industrial revolution and are still given now”).

The government’s open data push is being realised both centrally and locally, and is predicated on a belief in greater transparency, in ‘Government as a Platform’, giving tax-payers access to their data and other information derived from government investment in public services and assets. As well as central government’s National Information Infrastructure and Data.gov.uk, several local authorities have launched open initiatives, some creating dashboards sharing metrics generated from open datasets (look at the London Datastore, Open Glasgow, Leeds Data Mill, Bath:Hacked and Open Data Bristol, for example).

Open is everywhere

In addition to BIM-related open data conversations, I have attended Constructing Excellence meetings about open data (read Ben Pritchard’s blog post); I am part of an EthosVO-led, Innovate UK R&D project (SkillsPlanner) using open linked data as a resource to help address construction skills shortages; and I have led conversations in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations about the need for communicators to be more data-literate, more aware of open data issues and opportunities.

However, yesterday’s ThinkBIM event (held at AQL’s datacentre housed in a former chapel – now the beeping digital heart of Leeds) was more focused on the built environment challenges and opportunities.

  • While commonly regarded as a mapping organisation, Ordnance Survey’s core skills are in data, technology and interconnections. Echoing the Association for Geographical Information’s recent Foresight report (post), Ordnance Survey’s Paul Griffiths described geospatial data as the ‘glue’ connecting data about built assets to other data about the environment and about social aspects of the areas around those built assets. in February 2015, OS launched OpenMap, a new digital map bringing open geospatial data to mobile and web platforms. Then, using examples drawn from Thames Water projects undertaken using the ‘Semantic BIM’ platform provided by SaaS vendor GroupBC (formerly better known as Business Collaborator), Griffiths showed how data about existing building types and heights, flood risks, crime, employment and education could be used to augment existing decision-making tools (“project design need no longer happen in splendid isolation”).
  • ODI Leeds’ Tom Forth showed various examples of data captured by Leeds City Council and made open, including a powerful example of how public building energy use could be cross-referenced with IT data relating to office occupancy to demonstrate when and where energy savings might be made (making “ten million lines of data” open, he said, also helped make that data usable and bridged gaps that previously existed between FM and IT departmental silos). Datasets about empty buildings, housing density and open spaces could also be accessed to inform public debates about housing shortages and planning decisions.
  • GroupBC’s CTO Steve Crompton then provided a ‘RetroBIM’ critique of legacy information, suggesting around 98% of current built asset data was effectively trapped in drawings and documents held in internal file-sharing systems, not lodged in databases where they could be used as a basis for decision-making (“Let’s democratise some of that data, put it in the cloud,” he said). He briefly described how GroupBC’s Semantic BIM platform could provide vital contextual data to support efficient decision-making for planning, designing, constructing and operating built assets.

dataspectrum

During the panel discussion, it was clear security, commercial confidentiality and personal privacy concerns all need to be addressed in selecting what data might be made open (the Open Data Institute has a useful ‘data spectrum’ diagram showing the continuum from closed to open data). But Tom Forth stressed many bodies currently hold huge volumes of dormant data that could be made open (surely, such data will only have value if someone does something with it?).

Government departments are already opening up some of their data reserves so that they can be explored and exploited. In June 2015, DEFRA, one of the most data-rich departments in Whitehall, opened up thousands of datasets so that they could be more widely used to improve the quality of our natural environment.

It was also clear that the industry currently known as construction is still at an early stage in not just its BIM journey (the BIM Level 2 deadline passed less than two months ago) but also in its open data journey. To re-use an argument I’ve given in recent lectures and conference keynotes, we have only just started to move from “common paper environments” to “common data environments” – and open data is part of the more long-term BIM Level 3 picture (is it just a coincidence that the ‘semantic web’ is sometimes referred to as Web 3.0).

groupbclogoGroupBC: semantic BIM differentiation

I speak regularly to the main SaaS collaboration vendors active in the UK, and GroupBC is the only one actively developing semantic web capabilities. That is not to say that rivals aren’t thinking about integration between their platforms and other information systems – APIs are a key part of Viewpoint’s roadmap, I heard at last week’s customer summit, for example – but GroupBC is pioneering the use of linked data to build new products and enhance the capabilities of existing tools.

Its ‘Semantic BIM’ technology moves beyond the typical uses of BIM for visualisation, clash detection, construction sequencing, etc, and opens up a potentially huge web of related data, from ‘location intelligence’, to data shared by or licensed from other commercial or public bodies, and to data held in internal corporate systems. BIM, therefore, becomes just part of a bigger built asset data picture – the semantic web allows teams to exploit far richer seams of data, potentially unearthing vital ‘nuggets’ of information for accurate and timely decision-making.

Group BC have also written an excellent post on their own blog about their work with Semantic Web – please check it out at the link below. http://www.groupbc.com/blog/2016/06/03/connecting-project-data-beyond-the-site-boundary-thinkbim-2016/

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A selection of the best tweets and images can be found at the storify below. Please keep checking back as presentations will also be available shortly.

ThinkBIM’s next half-day conference, focused on BIM for operation and in-use, is at Squire Patton Boggs new offices in Leeds on Wednesday 6 July 2016 – more details to follow.

CIAT Professional Development Day

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CIAT 

Welcome to the second of our days of learning and opportunities for professional development that the Yorkshire Region of CIAT is hosting in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University. We continue to make freely available value added presentations given by knowledge rich presenters on topical subject areas within the construction industry; a collection of which we consider you could not find anywhere else.

 

Building on the unprecedented success of our inaugural event in June 2015, this year we have managed to secure the services of two speakers whose names are instantly recognisable as major players within the realm of UK building design and construction.

 

Peter Caplehorn will open the day with his Keynote presentation on the challenges that face the profession and the wider industry. If you have heard Peter speak before, or even if you haven’t, this is not one to miss. To get the day back on track after lunch Richard Saxon will offer his unique experienced brand in presenting how Building Information Modelling will be influencing a Digital Built Britain as we work towards level 3.

 

The full programme can be found at the following link http://ciat-yorkshire.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CIAT%20Yorkshire%20Professional%20Development%20Day%2026%20May%202016.pdf

 

Our thanks go to our event supporters, RIBA, CIOB, RICS, CIBSE, CABE, ICE, and Centre for Knowledge Exchange at Leeds Beckett University. We also offer a big thank you to the event sponsors, without whom it could not happen; Knauf Insulation, Graphisoft, Beattie Passiv, LABC, Minerva Appointments, Leeds Beckett University and CIAT Yorkshire.

 

BOOKING DETAILS

 

Please book via the link below;

http://www.ciat-yorkshire.org.uk/events/professional-development-day/

 

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