Wednesday 13 June 2012

Czech BIM Council - BIM Day 2012

Yesterday I attended the Czech BIM Council annual conference in Prague. A big focus of the conference was BIM in the UK. I personally think that the recent enthusiasm for digital construction in the UK strengthened by the UK Government's BIM strategy is now really getting noticed around the world.

One particular movement that is gaining a lot of momentum is the OpenBIM movement. The two opening speakers Lutz Bettels from Bentley and Leif Granholm from Tekla both promoted this. Lutz opened the conference with the super short promotional movie for OpenBIM. He then looked at a number of case studies from Denmark where the return on investment had been clearly demonstrated. Small housing refurbishment projects with 10% savings through to the £100m KPMG HQ that has demonstrated 15% savings.

Dr Tuba Kocaturk from Salford University then spoke about the conceptual "single model" approach and looked at whether this may be possible now or in the future. I think the feeling was that currently multiple integrated models are required. It was nice meeting another member of the Salford University team involved in BIM - alongside universities like Northumbria it looks like some great research is taking place. A big "well done" to Dr K too for standing in and doing an ad-hok second presentation after a speaker had cancelled!

Pavel Hladik then presented a number of huge sports stadium projects that AECOM are involved in. Some of these construction projects take your breath away. Check out the designs for the Singapore Sports Hub from AECOM/Arup...
Pavel Hladik presents some amazing Sport Stadium designs
One refreshingly honest benefits of using BIM that Pavel stated was "so that our design teams can be better than the competition".

Richard Shennan from Mott MacDonald was another of the UK speakers. Richard gave a pragmatic view on how BIM is happening at the moment. Multiple models with touch points (see diagram in photo below). The contract documentation is still 2D and on paper/PDF - but the companies that can generate this from a BIM are the ones that can produce the contract documentation the most efficiently and accurately. There was a nice quote from Richard when discussing why the big contractors are using BIM, "The big contractors are not using BIM because the government are telling them to... they are using it simply due to the benefits it is giving them".
Richard Shennan from Mott MacDonald
It wasn't all speakers from the UK. When a Czech presentation took place then headphones had been provided so that English translations could be heard. When Ing. Milan Hampl spoke it worked well to listen to the translation whilst watching him and following his slides. Hampl looked at standards through the ages, from the Egyptian prototype models for pyramids through to how the standard we take for granted the metre was defined.
Headphones for delegates that couldn't quite follow in Czech, or English... or Geordie :)
The slide below looks at BIM adoption across the world. Fantastic to see our NBS National BIM Survey being quoted by presenters from the Czech Republic.
BIM adoption around the world
I was the final speaker of the day and had an hour for the lecture. I think twenty minutes is the longest I have ever spoken for previously, so it was interesting planning for a longer period. The first twenty minutes I spoke about BIM in the UK and in particular the UK government's BIM strategy - similar to the presentation I did at ecobuild. I had had the privilege to watch Mark Bew present to buildingSMART international committee members last month - so I hope I managed to pick up some tips and do a decent job. The picture below shows the website being promoted. It is fair to say that there is huge interest in what is currently happening in the UK.

For the second and third part of the presentation I decided I wouldn't send everyone to sleep by continuing with Powerpoint, so I switched to demonstrating National BIM Library content and also how the specification can play a big part in BIM by playing around with software. No crashes = success :)
My concluding thoughts on the day was what I find strange is that people say that only "50-60% of the construction information is in the BIM". "Realistically, that is what is modelled". My view on this is that we must be more ambitious. We must not fall into the trap of equating "The BIM" with just the ArchiCAD or Bentley or Revit model. By digitalising all of the information - the full specification, including workmanship and FM information we can push that percentage of modelled information nearer to 100%. And if we can have clever software to help export to a single model representation such as COBie (or even dare I say it IFC?) then this must be our aim.

(Finally a big thank you to Petr and Marika for making the day such a success and also making me so welcome. It was certainly a good night in the bar afterwards too - until the early hours of the next morning - that Czech beer is certainly quite strong :)).

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