Wednesday 10 July 2013

thinkBIM Conference – Operation and Maintenance

Today I chaired the thinkBIM half-day conference looking into BIM with respect to operation and maintenance. The blog post below is a little rough and ready - but just wanted to get it out this evening as I'm out and about for the rest of the week.
thinkBIM at WSP Leeds HQ
The WSP 10 truths about BIM publication
The keynote speakers were Deborah Rowland from UK Cabinet office who spoke from a Government point of view and also Reid Cunningham from BAM FM who gave an angle from the private sector.
Key points from Deborah included…

What a “hard landing” and a “soft landing” looks like

  • GSL (Government Soft Landings) champion for Olympic Veldrome – Sir Chris Hoy. To make sure those that use the building are involved in the design.
  • GSL is mandated along with BIM for 2016
  • Maybe only 20% technology, 80% people and process.
  • Essential, desirable and useful – vital statistics about the use of the building
  • BIM Task Group website – all documentation on GSL at
  • BIM + GSL = The best outcome – need them both together
  • Please take part in the survey:

Super PAM prioritising soft landing requirements
Reid then presented from a private sector practitioner…

  • During a traditional project – the data does not flow through the timeline – from construction to FM and then survey after re-survey during a building’s use. Through BIM we can have a much smoother data transfer.
  • Myth 1 – BIM is only for new facilities – at point of refurb/alteration the building can be surveyed and brought into 3D information environment.
  • Myth 2 – COBie will solve all problems – however the data is out of date as soon as the data is created – and the software is not yet there to pull it into FM systems. But COBie as a principle is a very good principle.
  • Myth 3 – design team can provide all COBie data – however, the sub-contractors on D+B jobs many times specify the product as installed and are in charge of the final COBie data
  • Myth 4 – job is finished at handover “the BIM cliff” – no, the information must be kept up to date and this can ultimately replace O+M manuals
  • Design model to be updated through construction process – then transfer to CAFM system and be kept up to date – this is the dream.
  • Myth 5 – BIM is an IT project – The majority of BIM is in the people and process side and the IT enables us to do this better.
  • “Project Robin” – a BAM project across design, construct and FM. They went from Revit to XML to FM system.
  • Geometrics not necessarily critical to FM – we know where the window is – what about the information.
  • FM information should be accessible on portable devices when standing next to the physical asset in the building.

Design, construction and FM from BAM
Following the keynote addresses the delegates split across five roundtables. These discussion break-outs looked at:

  1. Government Soft Landings with Deborah
  2. BIM for FM with Reid’s colleague from BAM Steve Wheller
  3. BIM for Asset Management with the Amtech Group’s Gary Ross
  4. BIM Legal with Philip Morrison from Shumans
  5. "BIM future gazing" with Martin Brown from Fairsnape

The first session I attended was the BIM for Asset Management session with Gary Ross from Amtech.

  • Imagine the drops as footballs – the data gets lost at every stage – visually how this should be is the football getting bigger then passed back to the start.
  • Two challenges – getting humans involved with expertise early on and also agreeing the rules on data structures.
  • What is important to FM? The design as a whole maybe not so much, but the specification linked with location data and quantities and expected life.
  • The only way to transfer data from what software to another is through agreed open data schemas. This is the only way to transfer data now and to build importers so the tools of the future can read the legacy data.
  • Does the industry have the skills? Will they naturally adapt? Compare a PA from the 1950s using typewriter and post letters compared with one of today using MS Office for meetings, tasks and mail merge. User friendly software is essential and well-structured information.
  • Using FM data from in-use to find out what products work best and feed that information back into future jobs.
NBS Sarah to the left has the gentlemen furiously making notes during the round table session
The second session was a focus group that Paul Wilkinson and Martin Brown were running about new BIM technology ideas.

  • Next generation of BIM thinking
  • Drew Wiggett from NBS, Richard Vertigan 4projects, Kevin Lloyd Balfour Beatty contractor side, Chris Witte Knauf Insulation from manufacturer side
  • The benefits to open well-documented data – allowing smaller players in the global industry to innovate and really work with the data – present at the conference that may fall into this category include kykloud, NBS, 4projects…
  • What about big data? Not yet in the construction industry.
  • How is performance verified? If a manufacturer claims a certain performance in a BIM object… then who verifies this?
  • The biggest challenge is the state of the construction industry – client wanting drawings for planning at lowest fee, then these drawings being used for tender – then being novated to contractor and watching the costs getting squeezed and squeezed and arguments throughout.
  • Has the technology level now gone above everyone’s head? The old guys know their construction stuff, the young ones can produce amazing 3d models – but we cannot afford to have a huge amount of staff on a project.
  • Can information be shared over the cloud between practices?
  • National BIM Library concept is that well-structured information can be made available for free for all of the industry – so that each individual practice does not to have to invest in content creation, protocol development and chasing manufacturers for information. If this is done centrally, a huge amount of money and time can be saved across the industry.
  • Where money is to be made – this is where innovation will happen the fastest. Example quoted was the ability for Facebook to maximise advertising click-throughs through the algorithms around big-data on the cloud.
  • “Open Buildings” and BREEAM project.

The conference being beamed out for free over t'Interweb

Conference appreciation tweets coming from Mexico from BIM Girl
Following the roundtables the next speaker was Carol Hagen from Hagen Business Systems. Carol gave a US perspective on barriers and innovations related to construction digital and web-based applications related to BIM.

Carol discussed…

  • Augmented reality – taking daily site photos and having software that overlays this progress against the BIM used for planning.
  • When are visuals too visual?  - If all you need is the paint spec, do you need it modelled. You want the information you need and not having obstacles put in your way.
  • Interestingly Carol then introduced the BlueBeam product – this is one I blogged about a month or so ago… it’s a tidy project that integrates with BIM design tools and helps generate PDFs with embedded BIM data – RFI or AIs in particular would be improved with this technology
  • 4 out of 60 delegates raised their hand to indicate they were using this product.

Carol presents from Arizona via web linkup
…and to finish off the day we had five short-sharp-20-slide-20-seconds. The brave presenters were:

  • Graham Kelly from BIM Academy. Gave an overview of the 48 hours BIM challenges that they have worked on, Qatar, Singapore and Walker… a nice focus on some of the software development advances around COBie and IFC.
  • Jacqueline Walpole from FSI (FM Solutions) Ltd. Talked about it so important to pull information from BIM platforms into FM systems. Working with Deborah at the Cabinet Office and big contractors like BAM is really exciting at the moment. Great FM tools already map data from HR and SAP systems – we can do this with BIM too as long as designs and contractors let us know the data format.
  • Ed Bartlett from kykloud. Ed looked at how almost as much money is spent on repair and maintenance in the UK as in construction. This is why we need to take FM seriously. Where we are today is 2D documents getting rekeyed into FM systems. We need the IFC and COBie data to suck into FM systems – and this needs to be linked to costs and spec and manuals. Then Ed showed real life examples of it in action – not “can this happen?” but “this is happening”. “FM keeps BIM data alive”.
  • James Austin from Autodesk – James looked at the social media, technology and big data trends. Is Minority Report technology now becoming a reality. When does something become intrusive?
  • Rob Jackson from Bond Bryan – Rob reflected back on BIMShowLive looking at the conference with lots of great pictures. A little bit off me from my blog.
  • Duncan Reed + Matt Owen from 4projects. Matt showed off the 4BIM innovations that shows the BIM via open standards IFC through a web browser. Then how this technology would be used for ThinkBIM members who will be able to logon to 4projects to see example models and data and training materials on BIM.

Always worth the wait - the Pecha Kucha's
Running slightly over time, it was then to nip out to the thinkBIM BBQ (sponsored by 4projects) for a quick drink and a burger before heading off home.

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