Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Review - The business case for BIM - What manufacturers need to know.

Today was the the BIM4Manufacturers conference at the London Building Centre. It was put together by the Construction Products Association (CPA) and NBS. The media sponsors were the RIBA Journal.

As part of the welcome pack the joint CPA/NBS publication "BIM for the terrified" was unveiled. This contains a great introduction to BIM for manufacturers. If anyone wants a free copy of this please drop an email to info@riba-insight.com.
BIM for the terrified
It was an honour to be part of a terrific set of speakers for the opening panel. Dave Philp (Cabinet Office/Mace) chairing, Simon Rawlinson (EC Harris/BIM Task Group core team), Mervyn Richards (OBE for services to BIM) and Paul Woddy (BIM consultant - worked for Revit before Autodesk bought them).

The panel - raring to go
In terms of this blog - I'm going to keep it short and sweet - one slide and a quote or two from each...

1. Dave Philp
The Ministry of Justice circle-of-success below. The vision is to have an office library of BIM objects that can be maintained and improved over time. This information is then used to develop client requirements for any project, before the information transfers to the main contractor to agree a maximum price, complete the design, build the building, provide "soft landings" and then feedback into the maintained library of BIM objects for the next job...
The BIM circle of life - MofJ style
Dave Philp, "We need to focus on the total expense (tot-ex) which is a balance between the capital expenditure and the operational expenditure".

2. Me
I had the job of explaining "BIM for beginners" - so lots of nice screenshots of BIM from briefing, through design, to construction and then FM. The three key messages were (1) There are benefits for the whole supply chain throughout the project lifecycle, (2) it does require business change and (3) above everything else, concentrate on the information.

Whether you are a client, contractor, designer, manufacturer, information provider or software vendor - it does mean business change. The slide below shows how as an information provider in paper 15 years ago NBS/RIBA Enterprises have changed.
From paper to digital
Hamil - "A few years ago Blockbusters had the chance to buy Netflix for $50m dollars. Now Blockbusters are at rock bottom and Netflix are worth $2bn. As a business you have to recognise change and the digital revolution."

3. Mervyn Richards
Mervyn has an OBE for services to BIM. He joked that this meant "an Old BIM Expert". He focussed on the digital plan of work and PAS 1192-Part 2. Mervyn's clear message was that every member of the project team has a better outcome if we all work more efficiently together.
The BIM future
Mervyn Richards, "BIM provides every member of the project team more profit at reduced risk"

4. Simon Rawlinson
Simon looked at BIM, again in terms of the new digital plan of works and what that meant for information development throughout the timeline. The BIM Task Group labs material was presented - but there was also a pragmatic view on the need for traditional PDF content linked to the BIM for contractual reasons.
How do we bring the main part of the industry over the BIM chasm?
Simon Rawlinson "Credit must go to both the CIC and the RIBA for the recent efforts with the new plan of work".

5. Paul Woddy
Paul finished the session off looking at really practical advice to manufacturers on how to start their BIM journey. There was some excellent discussion about how to go about converting your physical products to BIM objects. How much do you go for in one go? How much graphical detail is needed? What information should be in the objects and what should be held externally?
Get the process right - and the benefits are there for all to see
Paul Woddy, "A designer may refuse an object for having too much geometry, but never for too much data"

6. Tim Clark

After the coffee break there was a presentation from Tim Clark director at Rockwool. He discussed Rockwool's BIM journey. I have observed a number of manufacturer presentations about BIM now (Kingspan Insulation, Celotex...) and they all seem to follow the same (successful) BIM journey.

  1. Accept that the digital revolution has begun and brochures, traditional advertising and exhibitions alone is not enough.
  2. Research what is in the public domain - watch videos, read industry reports, sign up for e-newsletters and attend conferences
  3. Speak to your key customers and find out what their current and near-future requirements are
  4. Select a specialist that can help author and distribute your objects
Talk to your key customers and determine their requirements
Tim Clark "Our round-table feedback sessions with tier-one contractors has helped shape our BIM strategy"

To wrap up the half-day conference Tim was joined by experts from the client side and design side of the industry.

Some quotes below...

Rebecca di Cicco said some lovely things about National BIM Library - so she is *definitely* getting invited to the next event :)
  • "At David Miller Architects we do all our projects in BIM. We use National BIM Library generic content early on in our designs then we switch this for manufacturer content as the design develops".
  • "For a SME architectural practice like David Miller Architects the National BIM Library is a great free resource".
Casey Rutland from Arup Associates, part of the Arup group, also spoke. As a large multi-disciplinary practice with in-house modelling and software development capacity it was interesting to hear about the a contrasting practice. At Arup they have developed an excellent BIM object library over a number of years - but they are still looking to the likes of NBS and BIM Task Group to provide guidance now on standardised property sets. This will allow consistency across their library and also with manufacturer provided content they receive.

Malcolm Taylor (Crossrail) and James Pellat (Great Portland Estates) also talked about BIM from a client perspective. There was a clear need for digital well-structured data to be delivered to the client. But refreshingly there was also a very clear requirement for great designs and great architecture too. 
I think the CPI committee need to issue a big apology to those manufacturers with Uniclass 1.4 registration plates
Kings Cross - home time - after a long day in London

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