Wednesday 27 July 2011

Justin King, CEO Sainsbury's - Breakfast Seminar

I had the fortune to attend a breakfast seminar with Justin King the Chief Executive of Sainsbury's. The venue was the magnificently refurbished St Pancras Renaissance hotel.

St Pancras Renaissance hotel

Justin talked for around an hour and was then good enough to stay for a further hour's worth of Q&A. Although those attending the session were from the construction industry, it was fascinating to listen to business experience from the retail industry and see how it can be applicable across sectors.

Justin's talk was centred around ten key items. He spoke around these items with respect to how he transformed Sainsbury's from a business that was failing to one that has now had 25 quarters of continuous growth.

Justin's ten key items were:

  1. Listen to customers
  2. Listen to colleagues
  3. Learn from the past – but don’t live in the past
  4. Agree that change is needed and agree where the starting position is
  5. Stand for something
  6. Recruit the right people
  7. Leadership and followship
  8. Admit your mistakes
  9. Think like you're number two
  10. Enjoy it

The London 2012 Olympic rings at St Pancras Station

His final advise to those in the building design industry was:

  • You cannot afford to wait for growth to come
  • Work out what you do that makes you special
  • Work out how you can grow your market share in the current market

The magnificent interior at the hotel

Later in the day I walked past the amazing Shard 

Friday 22 July 2011

A whole lot of information

Many NBS Building users will not be aware of how much technical content is in their electronic product.

Below is a version of the paper equivalent that still proves quite popular...

On the trolley is 10,000 pages of A4 at 8pt double-sided single-line space - amazing how much equivalent paper information is on one software CD.

Sunday 17 July 2011

NBS Create - Adding your knowledge to NBS guidance and suggested values

Our major new specification product is not far away. In May I blogged about being able to create outline and performance specifications and in June I blogged about how the specification is now a rich information model forming part of a fuller building information model. This month I am going to look at how soon you will be able to add your information to supplement the NBS guidance and suggested values.

When completing your NBS specification you are presented with a part-complete template specification clause. Expert technical guidance is provided to the right of the editor window. Clicking the drop down arrows in the clause offers a number of suggested values for you to pick from. You can select one of these or type your own.

Where an office has information they'd like to supplement NBS with they may now add guidance notes against any part of the NBS guidance. For example, below, the user has more information they'd like to add to the Image quality keyword of a performance clause for a CCTV system.

The screenshot shows the user adding their information. Once complete, the user selects whether this guidance note will be available on all future jobs or for a specific job only. They also select whether this note must be visible to all users in the office or just a personal note.

This guidance note now appears inline within the NBS guidance at the appropriate context. Who added the note and when they added it is displayed and this note may be modified at any time.

Within a company it will be possible to control who can add this information through the software permissions model. As the NBS data will be delivered across the web, this information can be shared across sites, so if a company has offices at Newcastle, Glasgow and London - then all users of the system (including home-workers) will see this guidance.

As part of customer focus group activities over recent years, a common request for improvement has been to allow users to supplement not just the NBS guidance, but also the suggested values. The screenshot below shows the user selecting the option "Edit Office Values List...".

The user may then add additional values that will appear on all future jobs and be available to all users within a company.

The screenshot below shows the clause now with the new office values appearing in addition to the NBS suggested values. We believe that the ability to customise these values and the ability to supplement the technical guidance makes will help offices centralise and share their knowledge and make best use of this on their construction jobs.

Further reading...
For all blog articles on NBS 2012 - click the NBS 2012 hyperlink to the right of this page.

To join our Beta Testing Program and help us develop this product, please see:

Monday 11 July 2011

Point Cloud Surveys

For the latest issue of The Architects Journal I was asked to provide a comment piece on "point cloud surveys". A copy of this is below...

"On many new build projects, clients are now insisting on the use of BIM. This is utilised through the design and construction phases, and then passed to the client at hand-over. One of the big advantages to the client is in its application to facility management and the benefits are only increased when this is multiplied across a number of sites. For an owner of hundreds of buildings, having BIM digital records of exactly what materials they are made from can help maximise efficiencies in terms of running costs and renewing warranties. Such records also help manage maintenance, refurbishment and alteration work.

However, the percentage of a client’s new build work can be small in comparison to that of managing existing facilities. This is especially true in the current economic climate. Point cloud surveys are one method of generating a BIM from an existing building. Through laser technology it is possible to survey the spaces in an existing building to create a digital ‘cloud’ of geometrical points. All of this data can then be used to generate the geometry of the building. This is then imported into a BIM enabled CAD package and the materials are identified. More ‘meat on the bone’ can be added to this BIM by adding detailed specification information to these materials.

The cost of a point cloud survey is now roughly the same as a traditional 2D survey. It is extremely accurate and generates a 3D model from which unlimited 2D ‘cuts’ can be taken - so it surely is the future?

I’ve heard it said that ‘if a building is worth building it’s worth building twice, once digitally during the design process and then again physically during the construction process’. Thinking about point cloud surveys, if there are design variations during construction, is it worth ‘building’ a third time? Before hand-over the building could be surveyed to create an ‘as-built’ model that can be compared with the design model, and provide a true digital record of the building."

Interestingly enough, this technology hit the national news the following day with this story on the BBC. A different application, but smart, 3D technology helping with efficiency in every day life.