Thursday 18 October 2012

Institution of Civil Engineers ICE BIM Conference 2012

ICE BIM Conference 2012
Yesterday I attended the ICE BIM Conference, one of the highlights of the UK BIM calendar.

The day was split into different sections and to kick things off it was a chance for the UK Government BIM Task Group. The first speaker was Paul Morrell who as usual delivered a fantastic presentation:
A year and a bit's it going? Stocks, Johnson, Morrell and Bew
  • “The Government needs to learn how to be a good client for construction.”
  • “There are over 270 specifications for slightly different asphalt systems – we need to reduce the number. Stop tinkering. Stop inventing the wheel.”
  • “We need to track cost and carbon for all components that are used to build a building.”
  • “The construction industry needs a new brand” – demonstrated by the slide “Jim’ll Mix It”. (see image below)
  • “We need a library of objects. Defined property-set. The minimum required, what would be good to have and then leave room for innovation.”
Jim'll Mix It - or should that be "BIM'll fix it"?
Paul retires at the end of this month. And a huge amount of credit for the UK BIM push must go to him. Paul himself also found time to give credit to Mark Bew, “Two years on, the BIM strategy has stood up pretty well.”

It was interesting to see the UK global position slides that were first displayed at the Qatar conference were shown again:
Who is leading the world in BIM?
A little bit of comedy was also delivered when looking at COBie – we have to learn to love it…
But be careful when searching for it using Google Images…
We have to love COBie...
...but don't search for COBie using Google Images!
Jaimie Johnson was up next. Jaimie is on the core team leading the initial pilot projects. Some key points:
  • Go to the website and find out about everything - very transparent
  • The plans of work from the various institutes are uniting under common stages 0->7 - from "strategic definition" (stage 0) to "in use" (stage 7).
  • COBie is not just MS Excel - it is a data schema that will be an "invisible bucket" moving data from one software package to the next.
  • The BIM Task Group are working with Nick Nisbet from AEC3/buildingSMART UK and NBS to define the property sets needed for the UK and level of detail to really make BIM fly. (see image below)
Nice for NBS and to get a mention on an HM Government slide!
Although he on a far-away-beach sunbathing - @thephilpster still makes an appearance
Terry Stocks gave a report from the "client's point of view". What had the progress been on the MoJ projects to date
The first Government projects
Next year's Stirling Prize winner - who wants to live here?
Then it was me up to talk a little more about the object libraries and the work being done to standardise the property sets that Paul and Jaimie had touched on. My presentation was a slight variation on my recent article on the BIMTaskGroup website:
BIM - The information that matters
I couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to play with the interactive voting buttons - questions and responses below...
Who is benefitting most from BIM at present?
Over time though - as information flows - the clients will get the best value
Nearly 100 of the 300 delegates hadn't heard of COBie
And finally I gave a little overview of the findings from the IFC/COBie trial - full report to follow in a few weeks time.
Who got a copy of the IFC/COBie report?
Before lunch there were a few excellent case studies from a civils point of view:
  • The Jacobs Blackfriars underground project
  • The £14.8bn Crossrail project - how they were building it all twice - once digitally and then physically
  • The Stockholm Bypass - 21km of tunnels to build a six lane motorway - "Ytterst Effektivt Samarbete" everybody agreed!
As main sponsors Autodesk did an inspirational presentation on where technology is going - I'll try and find the clips for a Parsons Brinckerhoff Earthquake simulation and an onsite solar powered self generation replication machine (Catalonia) that was truly mind blowing.

The technology message was (1) Cloud and (2) Digital Fabrication.

Over the day one of the best things to see was the involvment of all - through round table discussions, twitter and iPad questioning. All in all another super BIM conference. Well done to the organisers!

The big. big questions get asked on Twitter and beamed onto the big screen for 300 delegates to ponder
And technology also used to great effect through live iPad questioning on each table


  1. Thanks Stephen and well presented at the event. I've recently jumped onto the BIM wave as a young engineer and it's safe to say that it's moving rapidly. Very exciting stuff to be part of with my company and I'll be blogging about my experiences to, I think it's a good way of sharing knowledge and getting the message out there.

  2. A really useful event and as a software vendor a great way to ascertain the requirements, concerns and issues facing consultants, contractors and the ever growing number of interested parties. Also, a 'Thank you' to Daniel for attending our Scia Engineer breakout event on Open BIM. We will continue to share our own experiences of BIM in action at future events, seminars, webinars etc

  3. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
    Martin Construct

  4. Short but very clear presentation… I will be very happy if you invite me to join with your next conference.

    Doris R. Dimaggio
    Japanese used machineries Auction

  5. Thanks for the info. As a new small civil engineering business BIM is a real worry as its very expensive and slow. I hope it does not get applied outside buildings.

  6. Note also its Institution of Civil Engineers(as with Royal Charter) not Insitute! I know it drives them mad.

  7. Change to blog post title made Stephen.

    I also did a quick check on the other "i"s...

    CIBSE=Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
    ICE=Institution of Civil Engineers
    RIBA=Royal Institute of British Architects
    RICS=Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

    and for those curious...
    "Wiki Answers" says -
    and "Yahoo Answers" says -