Friday, 1 July 2016

Tagging BIM objects

A little while ago I blogged about the new functionality available at NBS National BIM Library that allowed users to star their favourite objects.

This week, the personalisation features on the library have had another big enhancement.

The screen captures below shows how users can now group their favourite objects by a tag to allow easier re-use when searching or browsing...
Fig 1 - The user find an object they want to use and adds a tag (for example 'Retail')
Fig 2 - Later the user may search for content such as 'cubicle' and then refine the results by the tags
Fig 3 - Selecting the tag filter takes the search results from 33 to 1 
Fig 4 - If you have already added a tag, then these are available from a drop down list
Fig 5 - All of the objects that are tagged appear from the personalised home page
Fig 6 - By selecting a tag, all relevant objects may be seen
Fig 7 - The tagging feature also works for the users taking advantage of the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit
Fig 8 - The above screen grab is a genuine example from our own refurbishment project for our NBS building
For more on the latest improvements in functionality to the NBS National BIM Library see:

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Autodesk Forge Conference

I attended the Forge Conference last week to have a good look at the latest technology on offer from Autodesk.

Some interesting stuff, a collection of useful links and videos below...

In a nutshell, Forge is the name that is used for the core components that Autodesk are building their next generation cloud products on. It is a common base of components that is used by their AEC and their manufacturing products. However, the big difference is that these components are being packaged up so that other organisations can build software using these building blocks (for a pay-per-use fee).

The main man from Autodesk leading the activities was Jim Quanci who is definitely worth a follow on Twitter. Even though there were over 1,000 delegates at the conference, Jim seemed to be somehow finding the time to walk the floor and talk to every single person.

To watch the opening presentation from Amar Hanspal on the vision, please see below:

To watch the presentation from Ben Cochrane on some of the technology behind the scenes, please see below:

In terms of websites to explore to see the viewer in action - have a look at... - 3D model repository from The Netherlands... - Scaled back, clean, promo site...

The AEC case study was from Mark Stocks from JE Dunn who have developed their bespoke Sharepoint site with Autodesk Forge viewing and data management components within. This promotional video is worth a watch - the story from a napkin sketch from the architect through to the finished building is quite a nice one:

A couple of other impressive items included the Forge technology that takes in drone 2D photographs and converts these on the cloud to a 3D model of the building envelope and surrounding landscape and the virtual reality work from Kean Walmsley.

See for the latest on the Virtual Reality work from Kean.

Over and above the conference, it was fantastic to get a tour of the Autodesk offices in San Francisco and also the Pier 9 Autodesk 'factory' on the bay. Thanks to those who looked after me and made me so welcome over in the States.
Shanghai Tower model
3D printing - software and hardware at pier 9
Developers wanting to know more please check out...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Periodic Table of BIM

One educational resource that seems to have caught the attention of the BIM community (world-wide) is the Periodic Table of BIM.
The Periodic Table of BIM
This is the work of Stefan, Richard and Robin at NBS and it's a beautifully elegant way of providing an index/table of contents into the subject matter of Building Information Modelling.

At NBS, we cover many areas of the built environment within the guidance of our specification products. For example, before specifying a lighting system an engineer may want to research the latest information on interior lighting or emergency lighting or automatic controls. Equally, an architect may want research fire, acoustic and environmental performance before specifying doors.
General guidance available within NBS Create
When providing guidance on BIM on, we wanted to have a more engaging way of leading construction professionals into this key topic than a (slightly dull) table of contents page such as:

Building Information Modelling
  1. BIM Strategy
  2. Foundations
    1. Framework
    2. Common methods
    3. Procurement route
  3. Collaboration
    1. Culture and behaviour
    2. Process etc... instead, the Periodic Table of BIM was created. An engaging way to support construction professionals through the topic of building information modelling.
The key topics around the subject of building information modelling
If you are interested - please see the dedicated area of our website:

To jump to a key topic, click the areas that interests you below...

Finally, when out and about on the road I have heard that a few people have printed the periodic table of BIM out and put it on the wall of their practice. We'd be keen to see photographs of this - if anyone wants to take part - please use the hashtag #BIMTable - I'll update this blog post if we get any pictures through ;)

- Download a PDF of this free resource - print off and stick to the wall

Friday, 10 June 2016

An introduction to NBS BIM Toolkit - Video

As part of the development of our new website we wanted to produce a set of videos that introduce some of the NBS offerings in three minutes.

The first of these was the BIM Workflow video we released in March.

The second of these was the introduction to NBS Create we released in April.

A few weeks ago in May we released our third video. This one tells the story of the BIM Toolkit highlighting the key benefits of this tool to owner/operators, the design/construction team and also construction manufacturers.

Please watch it below - Some commentary to the story is also provided below the video in this blog post.

The story behind the video again is from the point of view of the current refurbishment work that is taking place on our building in Newcastle (project led by JDDK architects).

The key objectives of BIM Level-2
The standards and tools that define BIM Level 2
Helping clients define who is doing what and when to meet their information requirements
Define information requirements and responsibilities and export to help create EIRs and BEPs
A tool for project teams to collaborate online when producing information in response to the EIR/BEP
A huge library of free-to-use classifications and LOD/LOI guidance illustrations across all sectors
Quickly reference these LOD/LOI items from an online digital plan of work
Helping manufacturers on their BIM Level-2 journey and placing their products in front of the decision makers on major projects
Populate your product data sheets using templates as a 'step one' on a BIM journey 
Support in placing this well structured data into parametric 3D objects that will be used by the largest of architectural and engineering practices
Find out more on all of the technical concepts at
A big thank you once again to our video partner Soluis - top video again - big thanks in particular to Laura for her work over the last few months.

To explore and start using BIM Toolkit please visit

Please keep an eye out on this blog and for some pretty nice BIM Toolkit enhancements coming soon too! They've been pretty well received during recent customer visits - so looking forward to them going live.

To watch the video, please check it out on our website below...

Sunday, 22 May 2016


A few photographs from Philadelphia. I managed to get a little bit of time on the last day of the AIA Convention before my flight home to do a quick early morning tour of the city.
Philadelphia Town Hall with the tallest building One Liberty Place in the background
The view from the R2 37th floor cafe
William Penn statue on the top of the town hall - build higher than him and your sports teams will be cursed
The nice and healthy traditional lunchtime snack that is the Philly Cheese Steak
Independence Hall - Where the United States Declaration of Independence was approved in 1776
The famous bell that was rung after the declaration of Independence
Food from all over the world at the Reading Terminal Market (that was under the convention centre)
Columns and carvings inside the Town Hall complex
Baseball in the shadows of the skyscrapers
The Art Museum and the famous Rocky Steps

The Water Works that used to pump water into the city via a reservoir (now where the art gallery is)
Beautiful garden at the back of the gallery
Lovely street art
Inside the pretty creepy Philadelphia East State Penitentiary
Illustration of how the % of the American population in jail has grown over the decades
Al Capone got a nicely fitted out cell for his stay
...and, of course, every shopping centre needs a huge bronze statue of an eagle

Saturday, 21 May 2016

AIA Convention 2016

I spent a little time this week attending the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention in Philadelphia USA.

It was fascinating being a part of the 10,000 person event which had hundreds of presentations and hundreds of exhibitors in the historic city of Philadelphia.

The opening keynote was set in a huge auditorium on a circular stage with the delegates positioned on all sides. Past presidents of the AIA were thanked, the best places to visit in Philadelphia were mentioned and credit was given to a number of architects who had worked on significant projects in the last year.

The award for the firm of the year went to LMN Architects from Seattle. Their video giving an overview of their practice is below...

The opening event was very much a celebration of the architectural profession - turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. The AIA talked about their digital transformation strategy with new website and social media campaigns. Their short film below has also been showing on American TV promoting the benefits of architecture...

The opening keynote speaker is traditionally one from outside the industry. This year it was the actress Julia Louis Dreyfus who is best known for her roles on Seinfeld and Veep. As I am a huge fan of Veep it was pretty good to listen to her speak first hand.
That's like using a croissant as a...
The exhibition hall at the conference was huge. It was good to see some of the familiar business from the UK were out at the event promoting their products and services. The photo below shows the stand from the AIA's equivalent from across the Atlantic the RIBA. Many of the architects in the USA are actually members of the RIBA too. When speaking to them it was good to hear that they appreciated reading the RIBA Journal to keep updated with the activity in the UK.
The RIBA Enterprises delegation does their bit on the RIBA exhibition stand
Amongst the other presentations over the day, as always it was good to listen to Autodesk talk about their future vision. In particular, Angi Izzi talked about how technology was helping architects become more efficient and offer more to clients. The video below is from Angi presenting a few months before the AIA Convention...

Another notable presentation was from Brian Skirpac from Canon Design. I had met Brian at the European BIM Summit earlier in the year so it was good to have the chance to hear him present for an hour. Many of the things we are trying to introduce into the UK such as responding to employer's information requirements and putting together a BIM execution plan were covered by Brian.
Brian Skripac talks LOD as part of a BIM at planning process 
We also had lots of very interesting meetings with organisations like ourselves where we shared what activities we were focusing on. It was nice to see some real interest and nice compliments in the NBS BIM Toolkit and the other NBS products and services. For more information on the BIM Toolkit please watch the short video below...

It's hard to do justice to all of the things that were on in a single blog post. But it was a great few days in the USA...
Welcome to the USA

An English gents beats the Americans at their own game and wins the IPAD 2 at the convention basketball competition ;)