Thursday 26 March 2015

NBS BIM Toolkit at buildingSMART London

Today I will be presenting the NBS BIM Toolkit to the buildingSMART international conference in London.

We're approaching the end of the six month contract period and preparing for the soft launch on April 8th at BIM Show Live. So the Toolkit is now starting to look really good in terms of functionality and scope of content.

Looking back over the last few months, it's been a bit of a whirlwind, but it has been a really fantastic team effort and the launch is now in sight.

Looking back through some blog posts:
Thoughts after the workshopsWinning the contract | Update after two months | Update after four months | Update after five months

With two weeks left, some screenshots from today's presentation are below...
Adding tasks and deliverables to answer client plain language questions in an EIR
Adding deliverables, assigning responsibilities with notes and LOD banding
LOI bandings in addition to LOD
Not just buildings - but content for aviation, highways, power, rail, tunnels, waste and water...
A new unified classification system with mappings to RICS NRM1 and more mappings planned
IFC export of project, stage, task and deliverable property sets - as seen as visual cubes of data in BIM software
Online and offline verification of demand-vs-delivered using buildingSMART technologies
Hopefully this is all stuff that is of interest. To see the most recent presentation from a month or so ago please visit:

Remember to book your tickets for BIM Show Live if you want to be at the launch and question the NBS team.

Monday 23 March 2015

Fantastic career opportunities at NBS

At NBS (RIBA Enterprises) we continue to grow and recruit for more experts who can help us deliver construction knowledge to the UK industry through innovative digital solutions.

Currently, we have a number of fantastic positions open in both our Research and Development Team (the team where I've worked for 15+ years) and our Technical Team.

1. Research and Development Team
Our latest development - The BIM Toolkit
Excellent benefits. Award winning team. Latest technologies. Innovative market leading products. A focus on User Experience and Agile methodologies. City Centre location. Interested?

Examples of our latest innovative products and services include, and NBS Create.

Product Design Manager
Manage a team of interface designers and beta testers. An expert in UX, agile methodologies, excellent creative and visual skills and an inspirational people manager.

Interface Designer
Design innovative visual interface design solutions across our portfolio of desk top products and websites including NBS National BIM Library and NBS Create.

Software Developer
Using leading edge development tools, the latest software and agile methodologies, you will work on innovative products that are truly leading the way in the construction industry.

Graduate Software Developer
An entry level role within the Software Development team. We are seeking candidates enthusiastic about gaining experience working within a commercial organisation who would relish the opportunity to be instrumental in the development of industry leading software products.

Of course, the downside of all of these jobs is that you'd be working with me on a daily basis :) :) :)

Our R&D team was originally a research centre at Newcastle University and came across under the NBS wing back in 2002. The ethos around innovation and pushing technologies to produce fantastic solutions to meet industry needs is core to what we do.

2. Technical Content Team
Set the standards in the UK for digital construction
The quality of our technical content within our products is what our customers primarily need. This is researched, authored and maintained by our expert Technical Authors. These Technical Authors are construction professionals who are experts in their field.

If you are an expert architect or engineer and would like to research, author and maintain the specification content and guidance that is then used by industry on thousands of projects. Or if you are a data modelling expert who wants to influence and help set the standards for level-2 BIM and shape the emerging level-3 UK BIM picture. Then find out more about some of the exciting posts in our Technical Team at our careers page too.

So if you want to join a growing organisation based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne city centre that's producing fantastic digital solutions for the construction industry - then check out the jobs at the web link below:

For any questions - don't hesitate to direct message me on Twitter - @StephenHamilNBS

Saturday 21 March 2015

Congratulations to the NE1ForBIM Team for success in Build Earth Live

A quick blog post to say a massive well done to the NE1ForBIM team, that included NBS, for their success winning the best multi-disciplinary BIM and interoperability award in the ASITE 48 hour Build Newcastle Live event.
Award winners
A great team effort
Planning for success and considering information structures and the management of this
NBS utilised for defining responsibilities, modelling and specification
  1. An early beta version of NBS BIM Toolkit was used to manage information requirements and responsibilities
  2. The NBS BIM Object Standard was used for modelling rules - in particular for building Xtralite rooflights (who were also team members)
  3. NBS National BIM Library generic and manufacturer objects were used
  4. NBS Create specifications were automatically created for the team members responsible for specification
A digital mock-up of what the building would look like
A great effort by the whole team
A big shout out to NBS Jane and Adam - hope you have caught up on your sleep
...and finally, a big well done to those at FaulknerBrowns, Edwards Architecture and Colour UDL who were part of the team that won the main prize. More good news for North East BIM...
"Toon is BIM capital of the world"

Building Award 2015 Shortlist - The NBS BIM Object Standard

In a month's time we will know whether we have won our first Building Award.

In 2013 we won two CN Awards for our work on BIM with the National BIM Library and NBS Create. This year we are up for a Building Award for our NBS BIM Object Standard.

We're hoping that the judges will recognise the impact that our standard is making across the whole industry. The standard documents all of the best practices we have refined internally over the years we have worked on the National BIM Library.  The standard defines requirements for the information, geometry, behaviour and presentation of BIM objects, to give reassurance of quality that will enable greater collaboration and efficient information exchange across the construction industry.
The NBS BIM Object Standard
As always with these awards, we are up against some very stiff competition. All of the very best to the others that have been shortlisted.
I'm sure there will be some familiar faces and good banter from "the competition" there on the night. In particular BIM Academy and Laing O'Rourke who are working alongside us on the BIM Toolkit Project. If you are attending the awards, please be sure to come over and say hello.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Find out about The BIM Toolkit at a regional presentation

Currently the NBS BIM Toolkit is being taken on the road around the UK in association with the UK Government's BIM Task Group's BIM Hubs.

These are free events with an opportunity to hear about the BIM Toolkit and then with time for discussions and networking afterwards. Sign up now to avoid missing out on a ticket:

I'll be speaking at the London event on Wednesday 18th March. A 6pm start at the University of Westminster. Many thanks to London/South East BIM Hub members David Miller, John Eynon and Rob Garvey for putting the event on.
The London BIM Hub organisers
Other events are spread across the UK: Bristol, Newcastle, Belfast, Manchester, Nottingham, Cardiff, and Glasgow.

To find out more about The NBS BIM Toolkit and how it can help your organisation/project team reach level-2 BIM please see -
NBS Software Development Manager Andrew Brook presents in the BIM-capital-of-the-world Newcastle
No seats left to watch the presentation at the ecobuild BIM Theatre last week
So book your tickets today at:

...and if you cannot make it, then maybe consider the following events:
...and join the conversation on twitter at #bimtoolkit

Thursday 5 March 2015

Solar powered paper house

Occasionally when in London I'll buy presents to take back for the kids.

At ecobuild earlier this week I found these nice little fun-but-educational gifts...
Our RIBA Bookshops stand at ecobuild
Back home in the North East, lots of fun assembling the structure and complex service engineering

Put them in the bright, bright north-east sun light for a few hours and then...
...renewable energy
Fill your boots at RIBA Bookshops online or at 66 Portland Place, London

Wednesday 4 March 2015

What is the NBS National BIM Library?

The NBS National BIM Library is now the biggest library of UK BIM objects and it is growing faster than any other. For the 2015 Spring conference season we have developed a new video explaining the key benefits of the library. This can be viewed below:

The video picks up on three key benefits:
  1. All objects in the library are authored to the NBS BIM Object Standard
  2. There is a wealth of generic and manufacturer objects for architects and engineers
  3. The BIM objects are designed to work in parallel to the NBS specification workflow
All three of these points are really important to any organisation developing an approach to BIM.

1. Standardised information:
I have spoken with a number of organisations in the construction industry over recent months about their BIM strategy. These conversations always come down to process and structured-information. In terms of structured-information, at NBS we have learned a lot in our BIM journey. Everything we have learned here we have documented in our BIM Object Standard. Whether you are a client, contractors, designer or manufacturer, authoring objects to a standard is absolutely critical. NBS National BIM Library can provide a large number of objects, but organisations will also want to create additional content for their office master BIM library, or if a manufacturer, they may have their own in-house team of BIM technicians to create their objects. The NBS BIM Object Standard can be used to ensure that all objects are to this standard of quality that is pragmatic and references the international and UK national standards.

2. Generic and manufacturer content:
As a model develops through the project timeline, typically this model will start with generic content. As the project approaches construction, the percentage of objects where a decision is known in terms of the product specification increases.

The NBS National BIM Library contains a wealth of both generic and manufacturer objects that ensures that this typical user work flow can be followed.

3. A coordinated model and specification:
The coordinated set of project information contains many more sources than just the model.

All NBS National BIM Library objects are aligned to the NBS Create specification system. Free plug-ins are also available for many of the leading BIM design tools. This allows project teams to consider a coordinated BIM strategy that goes much further than simply the model – but also ensures consistency of information between model and specification.

Finally, it must be said, that once again, friends of NBS, Soluis, have done  an absolutely top class job with the video.

,Some stills from the promotional video below:
The model used in the video is from our laser scan of our NBS premises in Newcastle
Great visual effects as the model grows from the basement up through the floors
Never mind one of Newcastle’s finest listed buildings, let’s have a look at the boiler room
The video emphasises the importance of standardised information at all times
Visit the NBS National BIM Library -

...and the original NBS National BIM Library introduction video below:

Ecobuild 2015 - The buzz around BIM

I spent all day yesterday at Ecobuild checking out the BIM Buzz.

Of all of the years I have been attending Ecobuild, this year must have been the busiest so far when it comes to delegates wanting to know about BIM a year before the Government mandate. For some of the sessions at the BIM Theatre there wasn't even enough standing room for people to see each session.

Dave Philp gave an update on the UK Government's level-2 strategy and the journey to level-3. In terms of the level-2 BIM package Dave spoke proudly about how UK will have a world-class set of standards and tools by June this year to put the UK industry at the vanguard of BIM world-wide.
UK Government's BIM Task Group Dave Philp runs the show at the ecobuild BIM Theatre
"The Government will launch their completed level-2 package of world class standards and tools in June 2015"
After showing some screenshots of the NBS BIM Toolkit, Dave passed the mike to myself and I gave a 30 minute overview of the the project. For those wanting to watch a video of this - please click below.
What is the BIM Toolkit?
Professor Steve Lockley then demonstrated the verification aspects of the BIM Toolkit. This work from BIM Academy is really pushing COBie/IFC open data to the next stage. 
Professor Steve Lockley from BIM Academy demonstrates verifying modelled information using open data (IFC/COBie)

For those wanting to be at the launch of the BIM Toolkit. Dave Philp, Steve Lockley and I will be launching this at BIM Show Live on April 8th. BIM Show Live is probably the main BIM event in the UK each year - so grab your tickets below...

Andrew Duncan from Arup then presented about the fantastic Project Ove before going on to describe how they are taking the time now to review all of their technical data sheets and concentrating on the I in BIM by creating consistency across their in-house library of objects. The image below shows Arup's BIM Room - a huge screen to review models when they are coordinated.
BIM in practice with Arup's Andrew Duncan
Ian Chapman from NBS hosted the session on BIM for manufacturers. Why did leading manufacturers such as Armstrong Ceilings, Ideal Standard and Iguzzini start providing BIM objects for their customers?

Leading on from the Arup presentation, again, and maybe unsurprisingly it primarily came down to standardising the digital information that the industry needs first and foremost. On this point, it's great to see so many organisations (designers, contractors and manufacturers) all looking to NBS in terms of the minimum standard we have set with our free-to-use NBS BIM Object Standard. It has always been our intention to try and create the national library for UK BIM objects in a similar way to how we standardised specification in the 1970s. And where practices want to create their own "office masters" then they extend this to meet their needs.
The BIM for manufacturers debate chaired by Ian Chapman
BIM for manufacturers is also about creating added value for customers and having a new innovative angle to speak to the market. Looking around the rest of ecobuild - it does seem to be the case that the manufacturer community is starting to really take up BIM.

Celotex with Augmented Reality technologies
Assa Abloy
BIM-ready Assa Abloy
Boon Edam's objects on display
Working with digital data to calculate U-values from Kingspan Insulation
Ideal Standard - Working towards the NBS BIM object standard
Joining the National BIM Library and authoring to the NBS BIM Object Standard - Ideal (BIM) Standard
Dulux Trade -
So - it's fair to say the BIM is the word at this year's ecobuild. I'm also attending today (Wednesday) and then Team NBS will also be there on Thursday.

Manufacturers wanting to learn more about BIM please see:

...and while we are in East London, meanwhile in China...
Do we have a new member of the UK BIM Crew?
BBC News - Prince Williams promotes British companies at the Great Festival of Creativity in Shanghai