Monday, 16 July 2018

BiLT NA 2018 in St Louis USA

Between August 9-11, NBS will be playing a big part in BiLT NA in St Louis USA.


In 2017 NBS acquired Digicon Information Inc, the market-leading specification company for Canada. Earlier this year, we updated our BIM Object Standard to make it applicable to Canada and we also launched the NBS National BIM Library in Canada.

At St Louis we will be giving an update on both our specification offering and how it will integrate with the BIM content in the model.

I cannot give too much away in this blog post - but we have some very exciting developments to show.

If you are attending BiLT NA, then please come and see us and also add the following sessions to your event calendar:

Thursday 9th August

9.50am - Keynote sponsor address
A chance to hear about what we do at NBS.

3.15pm - Session 1.4
Producing coordinated project information in a digital world
Specifying globally
A presentation from myself and Dave Watson from Digicon Canada. We'll look at information structures for specification and objects. As this is a tech event - it won't be 'death by Powerpoint' -  live demonstrations will be given throughout of our Canadian content within an NBS specification tool, collaboration over the cloud and integration between specification and model.

Friday 10th August

1.30pm - Session 2.3
Creating BIM Objects to International Standards
At NBS we have created objects for over 300 different organisations across the UK, Australia and Canada. These objects have ranged from ceilings to boilers to external furniture - and all objects are to the same content standard.

Again, it'll be me doing the presentation - we'll be steering clear of Powerpoint - and looking at some live demonstrations of how we create BIM objects and how we ensure that these objects are to a quality standard.
Creating quality BIM objects
3.00pm - Session 2.4
BCS Roundtable - The Construction industry needs to standardize its processes and data structures and enable value through the use of digital technologies
We'll be chairing this and will look forward to what delegates opinions are on this topic.


Throughout the event we will also have an exhibition stand and access to a room for one-to-one meetings.

We're really looking forward to meeting lots of people interested in BIM and specifications. If you'd like to chat with us - feel free to reach out to any of the NBS team who will be attending through Twitter or by email:

Please remember you can sign up for these sessions in advance at the BiLT website:

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Come and visit NBS at the Great Exhibition of the North

If you are in Newcastle between now and 9th September 2018, please come and visit NBS as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.
https://getnorth2018.com/

We're on the Innovation Trail and we have loads of interactive experiences for 4 to 94 year olds! So if you want to be inspired by the fantastic things happening in the world of architecture, engineering and construction - please pop in and say hello.
On the Innovation Trail
A quick tour of our exhibition below using photographs taken over the first few days...

Our #FutureBuildings trail takes you from the 1860s to the present to the future

A 3D printed model of our NBS building

An Augmented Reality view of some of the best buildings in the North East
Learn more about these showcase buildings and browse them in a 3D viewer at:
https://www.thenbs.com/great-exhibition-of-the-north/north-east-showcase
Inspiring around six classes of kids from different schools each day

How connected technology and the internet of things is changing the world around us
Watch our connected tech video below:
https://www.thenbs.com/great-exhibition-of-the-north/internet-of-things
Whether you are a little kid or a 'big kid' - it's fun to design in 3D
Follow the tutorial below and design a house in less than five minutes using the free educational resource TinkerCAD:
https://www.tinkercad.com/
Everyone loves designing using magnets
What isn't always obvious is how many people put the hard work in behind the scenes to make this sort of thing happen
It always starts off with a sketch on the 'back of an envelope'
A pleasure to watch sketches turn into concepts turning into the real thing
So please pop in, bring your families and say 'hello'.

We're open every day 0930-1800 until September 9th.

I'll be volunteering next on Sunday 1st and Sunday 8th July if you want to be shown around.

- https://www.thenbs.com/great-exhibition-of-the-north

Friday, 8 June 2018

NBS Create - Latest software enhancements

The May 2018 NBS Create software update has introduced a nice new feature that allows users to search the content of their project specification.

When a job is opened, the new search interface is positioned above the Contents panel.
New search feature
Searching for text within clauses

All products referencing 'BBA' certification
All mentions of prototypes being required.

NBS Create users can download this latest software update from the location below:
https://www.thenbs.com/support/nbs-create/downloads-and-updates/software-updates?utm_source=NBS_Create&utm_medium=desktop&utm_campaign=software-update

As the specification content and library is delivered via web-services into the product, the content is always the latest. But please remember to update your software.

For non-NBS Create users, check out the three minute video below:
 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

NBS - Now in Canada and Australia

Following the launch of NBS in Canada earlier this year, we followed this by launching in Australia at BiLT ANZ last month.

The first NBS offerings introduced into these territories are the NBS BIM Object Standard and the NBS National BIM Library.

Mike O'Brien our NBS Technical Manager in Brisbane led the presentations and exhibitions at the BiLT event. But for those not there, the NBS journey is articulated in four articles highlighted below:
  1. NBS in Australia - Introduction article from Richard Waterhouse
  2. It's all about the information - A focus on technical content from Mike O'Brien
  3. Coordinate and collaborate - A look at data connections and sharing from Jane Hibbert
  4. Emerging technologies - And some words from myself about tech in construction
NBS and the global journey
It was also nice being able to demonstrate some of the work we have already been doing in Australia with Transport for New South Wales. More on this story below:
https://www.thenbs.com.au/bilt/classification-and-transport-for-new-south-wales

Throughout the year we will be doing more overseas as our international journey - so watch this space.

To find out more about NBS in Canada or Australia, please see the links below:

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Digital Transformation in Architecture

A quick blog post to mention that our NBS Research Team have been involved in another interesting industry report that is free to download. Working with the RIBA and Microsoft we have published the 'free to download' Digital Transformation in Architecture report.

Having blogged about the recent Contracts and Law and BIM report already in the last four weeks, it's great to be able to talk about even more output in this area.

This report is the output of in-depth interviews and also surveys that involved over 300 architects. It looks at how new digital technologies are allowing for productivity enhancement and also improved client services.

9 out of 10 of the industry agree that digital technologies are currently transforming the industry works. The industry is also of the opinion that BIM is now maturing and, in turn, is reducing costs and lowering risks on projects.

There are plenty of extracted opinions from the survey throughout the report. In addition, there are short opinion pieces from industry professionals such as Aaron Perry from AHMM and Dale Sinclair from Aecom.

The report ends by looking at future trends and the following chart is an interesting one:
Emerging technologies
The NBS research team conducts research across a wide range of topics and for many different clients:

For more information on services provided by the NBS Research team please contact us at:

To download the Microsoft and RIBA report:

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Articles from this year's NBS BIM Report

Every year in the NBS National BIM Report we try and source some interesting articles to produce a great combination of survey analysis and some thought provoking content.

This year is no different.

The first article is from Bryden Wood's Jaimie Johnston. Jaimie looks at offsite construction strategies and working with Government clients to digitally model and analyse existing and planned built assets.
Jaimie Johnston - Bryden Wood

Uniclass 2015 analysis of existing estates
Peter Barker from BIM Academy/Ryder reflects back on the UK BIM journey and tells their journey on how they have made a success of the UK approach around the world.
Peter Barker - BIM International
The team behind the second edition of the CIC BIM Protocol, one of the essential BIM Level 2 publications, gives an insight into the revisions and learnings since the first protocol was released. Dale Sinclair provided the article along with contributions form the rest of the team.
Dale Sinclair and the CIC BIM team
There is an update from the UK Government BIM team. Dave Philp gives an update on the activities from the new Centre for Digital Built Britain to UK BIM Alliance to the international development work.
The BIM feedback loop to understand existing performance to inform future
NBS and BSI have jointly worked on an Innovate UK funded project to provide persistable, digital object identifiers for construction manufacturers. An overview of this project is provided by Simon Powell BSI and Adrian Malleson NBS.
Digital transparency in the built environment
The final article is from UK BIM Alliance members May Winfield and Sarah Rock that have analysed the legal picture in the UK with respect to BIM. Their recently published report is summarised here.


A big thank you to all the contributors and everyone who took the time to participate in the survey.

Download the NBS National BIM Report 2018:
thenbs.com/knowledge/the-national-bim-report-2018

Friday, 11 May 2018

NBS National BIM Report 2018

One of the best parts of the job is working with our NBS Research team each year to produce the NBS National BIM Report.
thenbs.com/knowledge/the-national-bim-report-2018

It's always fascinating to see the opinions from hundreds of construction professionals on the subject of BIM. It is also really interesting to compare opinions across the data set we have built up over eight years now.

The first thing to say about this year's report is that the adoption rates are most definitely not showing any signs of slowing down. Whether you look at the 'self claim' against the question around BIM adoption, or the usage statistics of the standards associated with BIM, the figures rise each year.
BIM Adoption over the years
Standard usage
When asked about the UK Government strategy and its success. The respondents are very supportive of the strategy, but believe that more now needs to be done to embed BIM Level 2 in industry. Personally speaking, I think this initiative has been a fantastic success and something to be very proud of - yes, it may not be as embedded in industry as it could be - but that could be looked on as a very 'glass half empty' view point.

Again, on a personal note, it's slightly disappointing to see that BIM isn't yet really delivering on one of the original objectives of creating an industry that has a lower environmental impact. Back in 2011, embodied carbon, recycled content and energy use were very high on the agenda - but we must ask, have the industry really delivered against expectations here?
Assessment against Government objectives
It is very pleasing to see that attitudes seem to be changing with respect to BIM technology being more than just 3D design and coordination tools. Usage of common data environments to manage data and information is happening on at least some projects for 2/3rds of the industry now. It's also great to see some very good competition in this field - the more competition then the better functionality we'll see in future years and the better interoperability.

Another statistic on the technology side is that 8 out 10 respondents are coordinating models and specifications on at least some projects. Clearly only a percentage of the information on a project lives in the 3D model - a big percentage is in data sources that should be coordinated with the 3D model.
Lots of healthy competition in the CDE world
Don't forget about the information in specifications!
One final observation was around BIM objects. There have been endless debates in BIM community about whether generic or manufacturer BIM objects should be used. The answers are pretty conclusive here. The industry wants both!

Early in the design process, it would be expected that more generic objects are used. As the design firms up, the majority of users appreciate the trend for more and more manufacturers to be providing quality BIM objects.
Can we have standardised generic and manufacturer objects please?
As always, we have a great selection of expert articles within the report too. I'll do a second blog post on these. But I've just covered a small section of the results in this post - please download the report yourself and form your own opinions:

Classification - 'Type of' or 'Part of'

Every few months there is a conversation on Social Media about what element or system classification code should be given to a pipe or a brick.

"Can a brick be classified 'Ss_25_13_50 Masonry wall systems' or 'EF_25_10 Walls'?"

"Can a pipe be classified 'Ss_60_40_37_81 Solar heating systems' or 'EF_60_40 Space heating and cooling'.

The answer to both questions is 'no'.

Classification deals with 'types of' things. Modelling is what defines what is 'part of'.

So a brick may be a type of 'Pr_20_93_52_15 Clay bricks' and the pipe may be a type of 'Pr_65_52_63_17 Copper pipelines'.

A modelling tool is what then determines whether that type of brick is part of a particular type of wall system. A modelling tool determines whether that type of pipe is part of a particular type of heating system.

This may not just be the modelled relationship between a product and a system, but any 'part of' relationship. Further examples would be:

  • A digital projector (Pr) is part of a classroom or meeting room (SL)
  • A security system (Ss) is part of health club or doctor's surgery (En)
The job of a classification system is limited to grouping types of similar items. A construction professional will then use modelling tools to link objects together to represent the physical built asset.

More advanced modelling tools may suggest relationships to help the construction professional do this modelling. For example, a design tool may allow the user to easily show which space type a door opens into and out from. Equally a specification tool may suggest suitable systems when a product is added to a job - 'would you like to add this ceramic tile to a wall tiling system or floor tiling system?'. But that is the job of the modelling tool, not the classification system.