Saturday, 11 May 2013

"Meet the BIM experts" conference Dublin

I've just returned from Dublin and the "Meet the BIM experts" conference. As NBS we co-sponsored, exhibited and also delivered the closing keynote speech. It was a fantastic chance to visit Dublin and meet many of the NBS users from Ireland. It was great to sit and show off NBS Create and National BIM Library and have delegates come over and say so many kind words.

The conference was organised by Ralph Montague from ArcDox and he had secured main sponsorship from Autodesk and had arranged for many members of "The #UKBIMCrew" to come over and present and discuss their experience in adopting BIM. There was a slight un-comfortableness from the UK contingency about being titled as "experts" - however, "you can learn from the mistakes we have made" was one of the modest comments from the various panels.
Fig 1 - Spot the twittererers
Every conference now has a twitter wall
Dominic Thasarathar Autodesk’s primary thought-leader and evangelist for Construction and Natural Resources opened the conference. It was an motivational and future-looking presentation. Building on a number of the thoughts I had heard from Phil Bernstein's presentation in Qatar last year. Dominic looked at BIM leadership and ability around the world and showed a chart from the Autodesk research team. He then spoke about what the main likely technology improvements will be and how they fit against project delivery to give twelve key areas of opportunity. An example of which was cloud computing meeting design. The unlimited processing power of the cloud will lead to evolutionary-style design where optimum design will be possible within the client constraints. "Nature is the best designer".
Finland, Australia, UK, Singapore is where it is happening (ADSK research)
Technology meets Project Delivery = Opportunities
What followed was then four panel sessions with the "BIM Experts". These were mixtures of short presentations, discussions, strong opinions and at times a few arguments - all good stuff.

1. Design - The design session looked at everything from coordinated drawing and schedule generation to the leading-edge design of curved structures.
2. Analysis - Analysis again started with basic benefits such as analysing a design for schedules of doors and flow rates within ducts. It then moved onto the challenges of moving model data from a tool such as Revit into a tool better suited for structural design.
3. Detailing and documentation - This was probably the hottest discussion - especially around the topic of detailing in 2D or 3D and how valued architects details were by the contractor who arguably follows their own practice quite often. National BIM Library came up in this discussion too. It was good to see that our shared parameters for the COBie properties are being used by others who create library objects. Paul Oakley showed off some of his software routines here to automatically do this.
4. Collaboration and construction - It was a good chance to listen to White Frog's Paul Woddy here. Paul was actually a Revit employee before Autodesk bought them. Also, some fascinating discussion with the delegates about COBie and also how to integrate specification information. What do you want to leave in linked PDFs? and what information do you want as part of the federated model that can be stored in databases.
Design workflows
Analysis workflows
Detailing and documentation
Collaboration and construction
Last up was myself. My presentation is on Slideshare below:

I looked at three things:

1. The UK Government BIM Strategy
How the UK's biggest construction client has mandated by BIM by 2016. I looked at what this means for the UK - better value for money and lower environmental impact buildings and what it means for the UK construction industry - through competition and innovation a real chance to be global leaders and export professional services.
2. Organisational change
How the digital world has changed the construction industry forever. Will your organisation be ahead of the curve or behind the curve? What does it mean for manufacturers, consultants, contractors, information providers? I looked at how NBS had changed from being predominantly a paper business, had invested heavily in R+D and is now one of those leading the way in the provision of digital information to the AEC sector.
3. The BIM future
What is the level-3 BIM vision? How is the UK trying to get there and explore the way forward with the BIM Task Group labs area.

...and then it was time for the drinks reception and then flight back home to Newcastle.
This is what Penshaw Monument looks like at 5am on a  Thursday from Durham
It would have been rude not to have a Guinness or two
The old...
...and the new
And a big shout out to Ralph for organising a great two days

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

BIM Show Live 2013

BIM Show Live 2013 has just ended. It goes from strength-to-strength - and with 600+ delegates this year it probably has now crept into the lead as the UK's biggest BIM event.

Looking back on the two days, I maybe didn't get the chance to see as many classes as I'd have liked - too much time spent demonstrating our BIM content and software at our stand (which I love doing). So this blog post isn't particularly content heavy - but a few pictures below to give a taster of what it was like.

1. The event
The event was held at the fantastic venue the Park Plaza on the opposite side of The Thames to Big Ben. As gold sponsors, we had a great NBS stand in the main communal area from which we demonstrated NBS Create and National BIM Library.
BIM Show Live
The NBS exhibition stand
The event itself opened in style - lights, music and David Philp Cabinet Office/Mace Group giving an inspirational speech. Rob Charlton CEO of Space Group then welcomed the delegates and gave a "state of the industry address". One slide in particular was put out there to provoke discussion. What professions are leading the way and what professions are lagging behind when it comes to BIM adoption? From what I remember the slide showed:
  • In denial - Quantity Surveyors
  • Resistance - FM, M+E, Manufacturers
  • Exploration - Main contractors, Architects, Sub contractors
  • Commitment - Clients, Structural Engineers
Obviously there will be exceptions within each profession up and down the curve. But if anyone has any views based on their experience - please add comments to this post.

It was also really good to see the "Class of your own" BIM kids demonstrate their secondary school construction projects looking at BIM. Great that the next generation got this showcase platform and maybe a little push for the current generation to adapt.
@SpaceGroupRob - The State of the Nation 2013
Back in the Exhibition Hall it was good to catch up with Soluis and see how they continue to progress our NBS Lakeside model in their interactive environment. And back at the NBS stand, BIM 2050 member and Technical Author Stefan Mordue had the media interest - talking about BIM innovation and future gazing.
Soluis with the beautiful NBS Lakeside model designed by our friends at HOK using National BIM Library
The next Kevin McCloud
One thing that was really nice to see was really intelligent debate around IFC and Open BIM. No extreme drum banging on either side of the argument - just great sensible analysis. I managed to catch a good portion of the Metz Architects, the Rob Jackson/Nigel Davies and the Adam Ward classes. The Metz/BIM Academy work on using IFC to transfer parametric objects was fascinating (and something NBS are involved in with Prof Lockley). The #LockleyIFCChallenge "B I M !" model was demonstrated. Can this be used for IFC certification? Maybe ten points for each geometry type, points for property sets, points for colour display? This would give a #LockleyIFCChallenge score out of 100 for each geometric BIM tool starting next year?

Rob and Nigel's session looked at real life project BIM and the challenges and successes of transferring data "warts and all" using IFC. Finally, Adam looked at a real life project BIM and how as BIM technology specialists they have taken data through to a SQL FM database using bespoke software and exports.

My favourite quote from all of this was Rob Jackson, "It's nice to be able to talk about IFC without people throwing things at me" :) How things have changed in just 12 months.

Oh, and I also did my Technology Hall live demo showing IFC from a geometric model being augmented with key performance data from the NBS Create spec. Maybe this is one for another (video) blog post.
The ACID3 test for BIM geometry tools
The IFC and COBie debate continues - where it will be 12 months from now?
...and of course, it was work hard - play hard - so a few pictures below from the fun side of things...

2. Cool Britannia
I've been down in London a bit recently. I always love walking around whenever I can and not taking the tube. One or two pictures below...
Graffiti at Old Street
The old and the new - what a great City
Love walking along the Thames
3. Retro Technology
There has been a lot of twitter chat from the #VeteranBIMCrew about the olden days. Nice to see some old  computers and game consoles on display. Even though the BBC B was not plugged in - I sat by it and typed into the (not switched on) keyboard and re-lived the old days of 10 PRINT "STEPHEN" and 20 GOTO 10. Also the feel of the keys under the fingers of Z and X and ? and @ for left, right, down and up as if I was on Mr Doo or Sabre Wolf brought a smile to the face.
Nostalgic tears came to the eyes

In fairness, this was always a bit crap :)
Back to being a student at Uni in 1992 - Where are the Pot Noodles?
4. #BIMPartyLondon
...and squashed into all of this there was *still* time for some banter and a beer or two. One or two people commented on how good the camaraderie is in the BIM community even though many organisations are competing hard...
Nice of Pizza Express to match the wall paper to Mordue's shirt
Cannot understand him and he's very hairy. Chewbacca and Storm Trooper meet senior members of UK BIM Task Group

The best sport in the business. DP gets 3D laser scanned after a few beers.
The secret to success in BIM - change your first name to "Rob"
...and a final thought. 40 years on... are we getting closer to achieving the following? (this is the inlay from the very first 1973 NBS). Maybe we are but now using well-structured data and intelligent software?
Coordinate your project information throughout the project timeline

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 online will be launched later this month. The countdown clock is now ticking at
RIBA Plan of Work 2013
To learn more about it - please watch the NBS TV video of Dale Sinclair presenting its benefits.
Dyer's Dale Sinclair
Dale is director at Dyer and chair of the Large Practice committee at the RIBA. He also wrote an article on RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and what it means for BIM. Well worth a read...

At NBS, we have designed and developed the accompanying online web tool. Look out for my article in the RIBA Journal coming soon. I'll also blog it here.