|View from above|
- They hit a point in time when they had all the data from their buildings in a wall full of 9 track tapes and a computer system that became obsolete. This was the point where Dana said he recognised that data for his facilities needed to be in an open source digital format that would be future proof. Ideally stored/backed up in the cloud.
- A nice quote “BIM is a team sport – you have to rely on others to be successful”
- He believes that the biggest improvement buildingSMART can do is to certify the IFC import/export from the main CAD vendors to ensure quality.
- The next “big step” has to be the standardisation of more detailed product libraries. The buildingSMART international DataDictionary.
Throughout the day there was a consistent theme that the UK was now one of those leading the world on approach to BIM. It was timely that the UK’s own Lee Zebedee from Ramboll was next up.
- Lee commented that those saying they were doing level-3 BIM were not. But there are some doing level-2. A nice case study was Birmingham City University where the architectural, services and structural models came together to produce a single model for the construction team to use. Open data in the form of COBie could be generated from this single model.
- All of the UK Government Strategy stuff was presented really well to an attentive audience. The social media and the communication side of this was rightfully given a big mention too – I thought this was a nice touch as this sort of thing is often overlooked. @BIMHubs and also @ThePhilpster were given as examples of not just putting down a document and leaving people to it.
- There was a cry for help to the software vendors to improve their ability to export information to an open data format. Having the VP of Autodesk 5 yards away was nice. Lee’s slide showing the first UK trial project was “warts and all” – 500,000 rows of data (are they all really needed by the owner?) and 40% manual entry needed due to technology limitations.
- Finally, there were some good examples of private clients that were demanding BIM now from the UK retail sector – “it makes financial sense”.
|COBie in the UK|
|Can the big UK circle overtake the Finnish circle?|
- When asked about interoperability with other software the response was “we have to play nicely” - “not one company is ever going to control the whole process”.
- The panel discussion prior to his presentation was all about the “owner being the most important”. I think Phil’s opinion here was to agree, but to remind the delegates that the vast amount of BIM software sold across the world is currently to designers – so let’s not run before we can jump.
- He did warn designers on when they pitch to owners. “Do not say ‘We have some really cool tools - can we use them on your project please’. But do say ‘I can save you x on the operation of your asset and on sustainability issues – it’s about outcomes, outcomes, outcomes”.
- I had my chance to ask my question, the best I could come up with was:
SJH – “We heard earlier than owners need stability in file formats when they manage thousands of facilities over many years, how can this be squared with innovation in the development of tools such as Revit where the file format changes each year?”
[maybe not word for word quote but…] PB – “When it comes to software tools for owners we have had five failures, I really do not want to work on a sixth. But when owners agree what they want and what standards they agree on then all of the software vendors will be scrambling to deliver the software to meet their needs. But I don’t think they know what they want yet.”
Phil’s presentation then covered five areas:
- What exactly is BIM?
- What does BIM mean for…?
- Why is BIM important?
- Where is BIM going?
- Implication for the Middle East?
- Modelling and simulation – do a design, analyse, simulate, refine and iterate – rapidly get the best answer
- Cloud – we are rapidly coming to a situation where you can affordably have infinite processing power and infinite storage – exciting times
- Mobile – No longer stuck on a PC only (interestingly Phil presented off an Apple Mac using an interactive visual tree view).
- Social Media – the way we share and communicate has changed forever
- Analog to Digital – laser scanning takes the physical and makes it digital
- Digital to Analog – fabrication takes the digital and makes it physical
|Phil from Autodesk's six big technology predictions for construction|
Heikki Kulusjarvi the Chief Executive of Solibri was next up. Finland is a smaller country than the UK, but they made their moves with BIM first:
- In 2007 the government mandated BIM (IFC) for architecture
- In 2009 for services and structure.
- In 2012 the big private client bodies came on board too
- Use open standards, say exactly what format you want and then digitally check this.
- All of the documentation is online in English too:
|Heikki and an upside down house|
The second half of the day had a number of case studies and technology promotions. One item of note from the Gehry Technologies/Dassault Systems guys. Gehry Technologies are often credited with digitalising and making possible some of the most inspirational designs. When most speakers compare BIM with other industries cars and aeroplane design and construction are used. Well for this session a comparison with “Iceberg Farming”. Hmmm….