Wednesday 24 December 2014

National BIM Library - Getting bigger and bigger

Looking back through blog posts from the end of 2013 I noticed one looking at all of the manufacturers that had joined the NBS National BIM Library that year.

National BIM Library manufacturers - December 2013
One year on now in December 2014, it's fantastic to see that the number of manufacturers has exploded (now it's tricky to put all of the logos on a single screenshot).

National BIM Library manufacturers - December 2014
It's been a great year for National BIM Library, in particular around content developments. Three things worth mentioning:

1. The growth in number of manufacturers in the service
As above. See link below for a full list:
and if you know a manufacturer that isn't on the list - please send them the following web address:

2. The investment to provide 100s of generic objects for service engineers
Early in the design process, it is likely that generic objects will be used. This year we released a fantastic library of free-to-use objects for service engineers.
MEP objects
3. The publication of the NBS BIM Object Standard
The industry is crying out for consistently authored BIM objects.
This year we published our BIM Object Standard. This allows construction professionals to create their own objects to the same authoring rules as NBS use. It also means that manufacturers with their own authoring teams can produce their own objects for hosting on National BIM Library.
To download for free, please see:

...and this is all in addition to the new website we released and the enhancements to our BIM plug-in.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Another year almost up. Thanks to everyone who visited my blog this year - wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Quite like this Xmas construction image from a search on Google Images :)
Looking back through Google Analytics, the most popular blog posts from this year (in reverse order) have been:

5th - The NBS BIM Ecosystem
Our marketing campaign for the year focussed around the "NBS BIM ecosystem". In March I wrote this blog post explaining how we help link specification, with technical guidance, with standards, with manufacturer information and with free-to-use BIM objects.
NBS BIM Ecosystem

4th - The BIM Toolkit
We're currently hard at work developing the BIM Toolkit. This will provide the industry with free-to-use level of definition guidelines for building and infrastructure project and a digital plan of work tool.
This blog post is from September.
Into its third month of development - The BIM Toolkit
3rd - BIM Levels of Maturity
The industry talks about the levels of BIM maturity. The Bew-Richards wedge is famous.
Bouw Informatie Raad did their own illustrated sketch of these levels.
The Dutch illustration of the levels of BIM maturity

2nd - Two common misconceptions about classification
Do you know the difference between naming convention and classification? What about terminology and classification?
Also, does the Supergrass MP3 analogy really work? Read this blog post from January and make your own mind up.
You say potato I say pot-at-toe

1st - Top three enhancements to the NBS Plug-in for Revit
The most popular post was from June this year where I looked at some of the latest enhancements to the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit. These enhancements included:

  1. Better integration between the model and the NBS specification
  2. The ability to tag materials and 2D objects with NBS codes
  3. The ability to add NBS codes from within the family editor
Select your object - view the specification (click for bigger)
Download the plug-in at:

Those interested in previous years see 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 Xmas blog posts. Here is to a fantastic 2015!

Friday 5 December 2014

Please take part in the NBS National BIM Survey 2015

The NBS National BIM Survey is now live - if you are in the construction industry please take 5/10 minutes to give us your thoughts at the website below:

Please also share the link with your colleagues - we want a true reflection today's industry - so the more people that answer the questions and provide their thoughts the better.

Each year, over 1,000 construction professionals take part in the survey. This is the fifth annual survey into this topic - so we are not just going to see a snapshot of the industry - but we will also see the important trends.
Infographic from 2014 survey
Infographic from 2013 survey
Please take the survey and help us present a true reflection of where the UK industry is with BIM at the start of 2015...

All previous reports into the surveys can be downloaded for free from the NBS website:

Finally, one lucky survey participant will also win a Google Nexus 7 Tablet :)
For the lucky winner
2011-2014 - Four years of BIM reports

Tuesday 2 December 2014

National BIM Library - IFC property sets

From the launch of NBS National BIM Library, IFC is a file format we have taken seriously. It is core to our authoring processes and in-house tools. Through our membership of buildingSMART we support and promote it.

It could be argued that the market demand is not there yet for this information. Equally it could be argued that the main-stream authoring software tools do not allow the adequate import of IFC property sets.

But this will come in time.

Interoperability is improving each year with BIM tools. The conversation is changing from one that was sceptical around interoperability two or three years ago to one which is optimistic about interoperability.

As part of our continuous enhancement programme of work this year to National BIM Library, the latest update to our website exposes the quality and consistency of our BIM objects on their corresponding web page. Some screenshots below.

PSet_DoorCommon properties and values from an Assa Abloy Doorset 
PSet_MaterialProperties property and values from a Kingspan Insulation plasterboard object
Empty Pset_FanTypeCommon property sets from a generic fan object
...and of course the basic generic COBie property sets (for a chiller object
Our NBS BIM Object Standard sets the rules for the industry with respect to the geometry, information and functionality of BIM objects. Screenshots from this are below:
The free-to-download object standard
Extract from the standard with respect to the information requirements
For more information on IFC property sets, please see:

For information for software developers interested in writing software using IFC data please see:

Explore NBS National BIM Library at:

RIBA Building Contracts – The NBS digital tool

Last month saw the launch of new building contracts from the RIBA. They are the RIBA Domestic and Concise building contracts that can be purchased in paper or digitally. The launch event was at 66 Portland Place and there was also plenty of interest in the contracts at the recent Guerilla Tactics event for small practices.

This blog post looks, in particular, at the NBS digital tool that can be used to prepare these contracts.
Generate your building contract online
Read the guidance, view a sample contract and then start preparing one for your project
NBS users will be familiar with drop down values and synchronised technical guidance
Main clauses from the contract conditions may be revised where required
A professional-looking building contract is generated in PDF form - this can be issued to the employer and the contractor
A simply, clearly laid out contract in plain language

Photographs from the launch events are below...

Cross, Sinclair, Henderson and Udom on the stage at the RIBA

Every seat is taken for Guerilla Tactics

BIM Toolkit - Update

Since we started on the BIM Toolkit project six weeks ago, there has been plenty of activity in terms of communicating the developments to the industry. An overview of this is below:

1. NBS Live – presentations
Members of the core team presented the outcomes of the feasibility study at the NBS Live conference. This included presentations from myself, Dave Philp (BIM Task Group), Alistair Kell (BDP), Adam Lamping (Laing O'Rourke), Stefan Mordue (NBS) and Claudio Benghi (BIM Academy).
The BIM Room at NBS Live
A write-up of this session is on the NBS website at:

All of the presentations from this session and all of the sessions at the NBS Live BIM room may be downloaded below:

2. NBS Live – round table discussions
At NBS Live we also ran a round table discussion session on what the delegates hoped that the BIM Toolkit would provide.
Discussions around the table
A write up of this is below:

3. Construction News – webinar
The Construction News webinar on level-2 BIM featuring myself, Dale Sinclair from Aecom and Steve Spark from 4projects can now be viewed online:
CN webinar on demand

Sinclair, myself and Spark in the studio
4. Building – webinar
The Building webinar on level-2 BIM session can also be viewed now on demand:
- Building webinar on demand

There were some good live polls during the Building webinar of the 600+ delegates watching on. Screenshots of these are below:
Poll 1
Poll 2
Poll 3
Over and above this, there have plenty of presentations and workshops behind the scenes to many different industry groups.

We have also slowly started our beta test activities with the first builds of the software and previews of the content taking place.

Our official web portal for the tool is at:

Also, for everything about level-2 BIM, please visit:

Friday 7 November 2014


Managed to get away with the family for half-term. Some photographs of Barcelona...

Panoramic view of Nou Camp
Messi - three time winner of European Golden Boot
Barcelona's very own Arc de Triomf
Gaudi's incredible Sagrada Família
Dark and gothic from the outside - but beautifully lit from the inside
Sandstone, Granite, Basalt and Red porphyry columns
Beautiful staircases
More of the light coming in through the windows
Views from the tower
A very scary 100m drop down the middle of the spiral staircase
The Barcelona Olympics tower
View from the front of the Olympic stadium
View of the Font Màgica from the Museu Nacional d'Art
Font Màgica once the sun goes down
The size of the Sagrada Família can be appreciated looking down at it from the hills
Gaudi's Parc Güell
More from Park Güell
Foster and Partners Torre de Collserola
More Gaudi
The Barcelona digital wall of memories gets a Windows XP error :)