Friday 29 October 2010

Building Information Modelling for Public Procurement

NBS welcomes the announcements made by Paul Morrell on the adoption of BIM for public procurement. We believe that the government has a key role to play in accelerating the adoption of BIM, as has been the case in Scandinavia and the USA. The industry should not see BIM as a Holy Grail which one day will arrive, but as an evolutionary road which we need to start on sooner rather than later.

BIM promises to initiate a step-change in the design, procurement, construction and maintenance of the built environment and is an inevitability - the industry must ensure that it is prepared for this.

However, the industry must not fall into the trap of seeing 3D CAD as BIM – it is much more than 3D modelling. The key here is rich information. This is more than geometric information from a CAD model. It might include performance, regulatory compliance, specification, embodied carbon, cost and many other pieces of data to achieve the real benefits a BIM has to offer. Software is the interface to a building information model, rich content is what populates it.

Significant investment will be made by software developers, publishers and other data providers to get to the stage where we can really unlock the true potential of BIM. At NBS, we are investing heavily in turning our specification and product information into digital objects in anticipation of the widespread adoption of BIM. This information will be at the heart of the process and efficiency improvements for the industry.

Decisions to support the adoption of BIM from government and other major clients are a welcome step forward. However, if we are to avoid the UK design, manufacturing and construction industries needing to play catch up in years to come, it requires at least the levels of investment seen in many other countries where BIM is already maturing as an enabling technology.

Thursday 28 October 2010

The BSRIA BIM 2010 Conference

I am fortunate enough to be chairing one of the tables at the BSRIA "BIM 2010" conference on Tuesday 2nd November.

Well known industry speakers will introduce four key questions about BIM. Delegates will discuss these amongst themselves and vote on what they see as the best way forward. The questions will cover:
  1. Who owns the Building Information Model?
  2. How can we make money from BIM?
  3. How can we persuade clients that BIM is worthwhile?
  4. What do we need to do to make BIM happen?
The delegates' answers will then be presented to Paul Morrell, Chief Construction Adviser. The conference will be chaired by John Lorrimer of Manchester City Council.  The speakers are David Sibbitt of Asda, Bill Price of Costain, Nick Deeming of Faulkner Brown, Mike Baker of Skanska and Richard Ward of Eversheds.

If anyone would like to comment on this post putting their points of view forward I'd be very interested to hear them.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

buildingSMART - Investing in BIM Competence

buildingSMART have just released a concise guide explaining how to get started with BIM and the potential benefits.
There are a number of interesting case studies in the publication:
  • St Helens and Knowsley hospitals - Information-sharing on a PFI hospital project
  • Endeavour House, Stansted - Repeat project offers opportunity for improvement
  • Festival Place, Basingstoke - Benefits of modelling for complex retail project
  • London hospitals project leading the way - Barts and Royal London hospitals
  • Heathrow Express and Terminal 5 - Use of a single model environment
  • Palace Exchange, Enfield - Collaborative working on a retail project
The press release promoting the publication is as follows...

Investing in BIM Competence  
A concise guide explains how to get started and the potential benefits 
BuildingSMART – the international alliance that promotes open standards and collaborative working – has published a concise guide to explain what is entailed in taking the BIM route and how ‘first off the block’ companies have benefited.
‘Investing in BIM Competence explains how to go about getting your business BIM-competent,’ said Christopher Groome, business manager, buildingSMART UK. ‘It explores the issues surrounding uptake – including people, process and technology – and is candid about the problems supply chain partners have to overcome and how to set about it.’
The author of the report spoke to people from different firms and disciplines in the industry to gain insights from their experience of Building Information Modelling. In this short qualitative survey of industry opinion, their answers indicate (among other things) the importance of top level management support, improved communication across teams, a range of soft benefits that are highly valued even though they are not quantified, and the effects on workflow patterns.
Anyone who has worked with BIM will be interested in comparing their experience. Six short case studies present examples of information sharing, from pioneering work done by BAA to the leading-edge approach employed on the Barts and Royal London hospitals project, now under construction.
‘Our vision at buildingSMART is one of a more sustainable built environment using tools such as BIM,’ said Mark Bew, chairman, buildingSMART UK. ‘At the same time, competence in BIM brings new business opportunities. I urge companies, whatever their size, to get involved and start realising the benefits. Take the first step by reading Investing in BIM Competence.’

Tuesday 12 October 2010

RIBA Guerrilla Tactics 2010 for Small Architecture Practices

This year's RIBA Guerrilla Tactics conference is partnered by NBS. The conference will take place on 17 - 18 November 2010 at 66 Portland Place, London.

The exciting news from NBS is that we will use this conference to launch our new NBS Domestic Specification product. NBS Domestic Specification is our first online specification product. As it works through any web browser it doesn't need you to install any software, you always use the latest data and it works on both a PC and a Mac.
Andrew Wilson, the NBS technical expert for small works and Alistair Findlay who has developed the software will be there for the conference and will launch the product as part of the CPD session "Best practice specification for domestic projects using online technologies".

Speakers at the conference include:
  • Ruth Reed, RIBA President
  • Kevin McCloud (from Channel 4's Grand Designs)
  • Paul Fletcher, RIBA Client Design Advisor
  • Angela Brady, RIBA President Elect

Thursday 7 October 2010

NBS at the Vectorworks 2011 Conference

I spoke at the Vectorworks 2011 Conference in London yesterday.
The presentation was in two parts. The first part gave a little bit of a history behind NBS and the benefits of using our master specification system. The second part of the presentation looked at using NBS project specification information within the Vectorworks Notes Manager system. A number of delegates spoke to me over lunch commenting on how they liked the development. The “Reconcile Notes” feature was particularly well received. The presentation can be downloaded by selecting the graphic below:

The Annotator component that allows the export of specifications to VW NotesManager is a free download from:

Almost half of the Vectorworks community are Mac users. At the end of the presentation the new NBS Domestic Specification product was discussed in the Q&A session. NBS Domestic Specification works through a user’s web browser so it works equally well on both PC and Mac. Over lunch I felt there was a real buzz about this product and must have received over ten business cards from Mac users requesting more information about this development.

Preview of NBS Domestic Specification functionality:

Scope of content of NBS Domestic Specification:

NBS Domestic Specification will be launched at the RIBA Guerrilla Tactics conference in November as part of the "Tools and Tactics" part of the CPD presentations:

Monday 4 October 2010

NBS at the RIBA Sterling Prize 2010

NBS were associate sponsors of the RIBA Sterling Prize 2010.

Now in its 15th year, the RIBA Stirling Prize is awarded to the architects of the best new European building ‘built or designed in Britain’. The winner was announced at the RIBA Stirling Prize Dinner on 2 October, and broadcast live on BBC Two’s The Culture Show, presented by Kevin McCloud.

The winner was MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome and the architect Zaha Hadid.
2010 winning design

Before the event
Mr McCloud pictured with NBS QA Manager Clair Hillier