Wednesday, 21 September 2011

buildingSMART Singapore - Day Three

Today was the “BIM-finitive Way to SMART Construction” international conference. Full presentations will soon be available at

Amongst the 300 delegates, I’d say 75% were local to Singapore wanting to know something about BIM whereas 25% were some of the finest BIM minds in the world from buildingSMART International. So where do you pitch a presentation so there is something for everyone was the thought that had been going around my mind. But before my presentation, as I sat nervously, I had the pleasure of listening to Francois Grobler (US), Joost Wijnen (Netherlands) and Tahir Sharif (buildingSMART ME).

Francois Grobler discussed BIM and buildingSMART from a US point of view. openBIM is now mandated on many government departments, states and private companies. Many of the classic buildingSMART slides demonstrating the benefits of BIM were shown. Two to mention:
  • How the design changes become more and more expensive the further a project develops – BIM allows you to make design changes earlier in the timeline.
  • Adopting BIM, for every $1 saved in design, $20 will be saved in construction and $60 in operation. These are the famous Patrick Macleamy (HOK USA/buildingSMART) slides Information model (BIM), Assembly model (BAM), Own and Operate model (BOOM).

Joost Wijnen from in the Netherlands then spoke about how the Dutch Government is now pushing for BIM to try and improve efficiencies in the construction industry. One nice example was how people’s attitude to BIM has changed from “I don’t want a nice model, I want a nice house and better value for money” to “I want a nice model so I can have a nice house and better value for money”. is a business that acts as consultancy for construction professionals or clients who want to adopt interoperable BIM.

An interesting development in the Netherlands is the announcement by telecoms company BouwConnect who have indicated they intend to invest €50m in an openBIM exchange server project.

Tahir Sharif spoke about how buildingSMART ME is working with the construction industry in the Middle East to improve the adoption of BIM on projects. It was interesting to see how they are working with education establishments to provide BIM certification. All BIM presentations (with the exception of mine) have jaw-dropping visualisations. And as you’d imagine, the Middle East has its fair share of amazing buildings. Some screenshots from these and a few inspirational cartoons below:

Although a little nervous at first, my presentation fortunately went pretty smoothly, it was basically a combination of the one I delivered at the NLA conference with the IFC export slides and a little on the National BIM Library developments. The inter-operable nature of BIM was one aspect that I pushed:
  • Information will be in CAD systems and specification systems during design and construction – this must come together in one inter-operable format.
  • The UK government is mandating BIM. They have selected COBie as the interoperable file format. This is buildingSMART’s reduced, non-geometric, more pragmatic subset of IFC. But it is openBIM – non-proprietary – handing over a Revit model and saying you are doing BIM will not be acceptable.
  • IFC will be the key format in our National BIM Library developments. This will allow Revit models that are authored to be transferred to other CAD formats such as ArchiCAD, Bentley, Tekla and Vectorworks. 
  • Users can view these in free IFC viewers and be confident they have been authored to international standards and made to work efficiently without bloating a CAD model. We know from our NBS BIM survey that the BIM community is split between what CAD software they use, so providing objects in many formats is key the success of this project.
During lunch I had a good chance to discuss the NBS projects with members of the other buildingSMART chapters. It was great to share ideas with the Australians and the Norwegians in particular.

Following lunch there were a number of demonstrations from firstly solution providers Autodesk, Newforma, Arup and Davis Langdon. Phil Lazarus from Arup and Jim Forrester from Newforma in particular were very entertaining and great speaker. Jim in particular was right to apologies for the worst pun of the day in “To BIMfinity and beyond” as a presentation title.

The day finished with a number of 20 minute case studies from different construction professionals giving their experience of working with BIM in Singapore.

At the end of the day I had the pleasure of chatting with Cheng Tai Fatt who is the Director of Development for the Singapore Building and Construction Authority. He is one of the biggest advocates of open BIM and many countries are now looking at Singapore as an example of how to develop their cities.

Finally congratulations to Joost Wijnen, whose students won the BIMBuzz top prize. 48 hours to design a building on a prime plot of land in Singapore using openBIM. Watch the youtube clip below to see them in action:

1 comment:

  1. I can not run the video in Germany due music copyright issue.would be nice to provide another link without music