Wednesday 24 October 2012

RIBA Insight Manufacturer Consultancy Days 2012

Yesterday I attended the first of our two RIBA Insight Manufacturer Consultancy Days.

Manchester IWM Nort
"NBS" is our construction-professional-facing brand within the wider RIBA Enterprises company. "RIBA Insight" is our manufacturer-facing brand. There are a whole host of services we offer manufacturers and others who advertise within to the construction sector - RIBA Product Selector, RIBA CPD, RIBA Journal, NBS Plus, National BIM Library and RIBA Mail to name just a few.

The Consultancy Day was at the Manchester's Imperial War Museum North the day is repeated next week in London. The conference was broken into four sections: (1) What specifiers want from construction manufacturers, (2) BIM - all angles covered, (3) Getting the best out of your website and (4) CPD.

The first session was split between our NBS Market Research team and RIBA Journal team. Our Market Research team have published a number of free reports in the last year or two. Lynda Thompson from this team presented an expert insight into this market. An example of some of the recent reports can be found below:
In July this year The RIBA Journal was transferred to RIBA Enterprises. First published in 1893 it has a circulation of almost 30,000. Richard Tomlin and Jan-Carlos Kucharek gave a good insight into what content architects look for in a magazine. They also gave a fascinating insight into the balance between providing good hard copy content and associated web content. "Technology changes, but principles don't". "As long as businesses need to promote their products, marketers will be more willing to pay for consumers than consumers are willing to pay for content".

One of my favourite parts of the day was when Richard presented some examples of adverts that have worked particularly well with architects. Some of these slides below...

BIM: All angles covered
After the break I then chaired the "BIM: All angles covered" session. It was nice to be able to say very little and just hand over to the fantastic speakers we had. First up was David Miller from David Miller Architects who has really embraced BIM and credits this in part for his journey over the last three years from a four-person practice to a fourteen-person practice. At a time of hardship in the industry this is a truly fascinating story.

Next stop was Kevin Lloyd from Balfour Beatty. Like David, Kevin also talked the delegates through his organisation's BIM journey over recent years. The requirements of a large tier-one contractor are clearly different to a small architectural practice - but there were also similarities. Kevin spoke of the need for quality BIM objects from manufacturers and encouraged the delegates to invest in digitalising their content.

The final speaker was Bill Gibson Head of Marketing at Kingspan Insulation. He spoke of why Kingspan Insulation had chosen National BIM Library for their objects. What was interesting was the twelve month BIM-journey that Kingspan Insulation had been on. They had looked at a number of potential partners, did their own market research and then conducted user testing to be certain that they were making the correct decision. Bill himself comes from the automotive industry and explained how he could see the parallels between the digital design and fabrication in that industry.

Incidentally, the photograph above shows a slide that lists the number of groups and organisations that NBS are members of that are looking into digitally structuring data:
  1. ISO 12006-2 - the international standard that is linked with Omniclass and Uniclass
  2. BSI B555 - BSI's construction, design, modelling and data exchange group
  3. BIM Technology Alliance - UK Government's BIM Technology group
  4. buildingSMART UK - The organisation behind BIM interoperability
  5. CPIC - The UK committee behind Uniclass
  6. ICIS - The International Construction Information Society
Architects Paul Swaddle and Andrew de Silva finished the day off giving tips on how deliver great CPD. All RIBA architects need to attain 35 CPD points each year as part of their professional accreditation.
  • "Energetic and professional"
  • "Not a hard sell - but a knowledgeable presentation of technical information"
  • "Face to face *and* online delivery"
    and finally...
  • "Marks and Spencer sandwiches (or equal and approved)" :)
And to finish off - some pictures from the fantastic venue - always nice to have an interesting venue:
Suitcases from displaced families in WWII
Information Poster #1
Information Poster #2
Steel from World Trade Centre
New BBC building across the canal
Aged 18-50 - join the RAF!

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