Thursday 24 March 2016

Think BIM - Spring Conference 2016

I had the pleasure of chairing the half-day Spring Think BIM Conference in Leeds. As always it was a top event mixing great speakers with interactive round tables for discussion.

The first speaker was the UK BIM Task Group’s Dave Philp who gave an update on the activity delivering against the UK Government’s Strategy. Dave was actually overseas in Australia, so through the power of technology he presented over the web. Dave looked back at the last five years and the level-2 BIM journey developing the standard, tools and guidance.
Phil on Skype live from Perth, Australia
For Dave’s most recent presentation on this please see:

Next up was James Austin who was one of the original participants in the very first Think BIM in 2011. James who was an architect at the time at Space Group but has since joined Autodesk reflected back on this UK journey. Some photographs from his slide deck are below…
James looks back five years ago
Key milestones in the UK Level-2 BIM journey 
I'd strongly recommend having a flick through this presentation - so much good stuff from the last five years - this will be available soon on the Think BIM website:

For my own look back at five years of Think BIM - check out all of my blog posts with this tag...

The final speaker before the roundtable discussions was Adam Matthews who is the chair of the recently formed EU BIM Task Group. Adam talked about the two year programme to provide consistent guidance and a minimum level of performance across publicly funded construction work with respect to digital process and deliverables.

Where construction and built asset management is funded through tax payers money then there is a responsibility to increase productivity and get better value for the spend. Across the world, BIM is considered to be an enabler to do this – this initiative has the potential to put Europe and the UK into a position of world leadership.
Adam looks at productivity across industries and considers digital
The EU BIM Task Group -
The CEN/TC 442 structure defining BIM standards across Europe - Picture left of NBS R Waterhouse
The first roundtable I attended was delivered by Adrian Malleson from NBS. Adrian was exploring the topic of persistent digital object identifiers (DOI) for physical products. This is an Innovate UK research project that involved NBS, BSI and the Construction Products Association.

The sort of opportunities explored here included (a) if each type of product in a built asset and a fixed identifier that linked to information about that product  that would be persistent over time, would this be of value in FM? and (b) what would the scope of the parameters be that could be stored against this identifier so that information about this product could be easily accessible either at the design, construction or operation stage of the project.

How could a concept such as this fit into a data structure such as COBie or IFC (or a proprietary FM format)? In the case of COBie, the object class would be determined by the classification (Category field), the location of the object would be determined by the instance relationship to parent space/location, then floor and then building/entity. The DOI would be an attribute of the object that would resolve to a hyperlink that gave persistent additional information regarding that type of object held on the web.
The simple flow of information between manufacturers and those that need this data
The second roundtable I attended was chaired by the manufacturer Bosch. They talked about their BIM journey and the challenges faced when determining how much geometric detail to model in a manufacturer object, how much information to put into the object and how much should be on the web and also what information standards should be followed.

All interesting subjects – particularly important if information from manufacturers is to be provided to the industry in a standardised format. At NBS we have spent a lot of time looking into standardising BIM object information and more can be found on this subject below:

The conference concluded with a review of the roundtable discussions and then a final Q+A. The Q+A included the question about dominance of software providers and how competition around open standards was good for the industry. There was also discussion around whether organisations were willing to share their native models or whether they’d only share IFC and other fixed data formats to protect IPR. The feeling was that sharing is good for the industry.

So all in all – a really good day. As usual Think BIM was a super event – I look forward to the next one in the Summer.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Review of Ecobuild 2016

Our NBS digital team have pulled together a super mini-site that looks back at Ecobuild 2016 and in particular the activities on the NBS curated Digital Building Hub.
Ecobuild Review Site

There are full review pages of each of the three days:

Day one
A look back at presentations by David Miller Architects, Assa Abloy, the BIM Task Group and Ian Chapman.

Day two
A look back at presentations by Ideal Standard, BDP, myself, Dave Philp and BRE.

Day three
Richard Waterhouse, Wavin and BSI all presented at the hub

Standing room only for the majority of presentations
...and finally, all of the slides from each of the presentations can be downloaded:

For those of you that attended - hopefully you enjoyed what was available at the Digital Building Hub. Until next year...
Team NBS at ecobuild 2016

Tuesday 8 March 2016

How NBS fits into your BIM workflow - Video

As part of the launch of our new brand and our new website - we now have a dedicated place on our website explaining how NBS products and services can support you within your BIM workflow.

As part of this, we have just produced a three minute video as a short introduction.

What I think is particularly nice about this video is that the story is told from our own building project that is currently under way. This is a genuine model of our building. The content and software examples are genuine. Some stills from the video are explained below.
At an early stage, client information requirements can be defined in the NBS BIM Toolkit
Generic objects from the National BIM Library can help generate concept designs
Specifications can be started early and then developed through the timeline using NBS Create
Relevant standards and regulations are linked to BIM objects and specifications within the Construction Information Service
Product specifications from over 650 manufacturers may be added using NBS Plus
The NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit synchronises the model and the specification
Information is developed through the project timeline
The connectivity between the solutions is what makes them so effective
To find out more about our BIM solutions - please see:

Thanks to chartered architects JDDK who have led the building project

Thanks also (again) to Soluis who partnered with us to produce our third engaging BIM video (previous 1, previous 2).

Thursday 3 March 2016

Using NBS on BIM projects - Case studies

At a recent NBS BIM event in Birmingham we asked a number of organisations that have adopted BIM to talk about their experiences.

It was fantastic to see the odd slide that showed NBS being used on these projects.

I did a write up for our RIBA Insight website below:

Some screenshots from this article below:
Associated Architects using the BIM Toolkit LOD guidance on a project
Associated Architects using the National BIM Library content linked to an NBS specification on a project

James and Ward Ltd making the point that manufacturers should be making BIM objects available
Assa Abloy presenting how they have worked with NBS to deliver against their BIM strategy
It's great to see screen grabs of our content and tools being used on BIM projects. If anyone out there wants to send any in for inclusion in a blog post please get in touch.

Read the full article

Hear from UK BIM Task Group at Digital Building Ecobuild

Each year you can easily spend £200-£400 going to BIM conferences around the country. Well, for the second year running NBS have curated the content at ecobuild for the BIM/Digital Building seminar series - and it's completely free to attend.

Sign up now for either Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th or Thursday 10th March:

Arguably the biggest attraction at the Digital Building Stage each day will be the UK BIM Task Group giving an update on progress against the Government BIM Strategy. Hear from:

  • Rob Manning at 3.30pm on Tuesday 8th March; or
  • Dave Philp at 2.30pm on Wednesday 9th March; or
  • Rob Manning at 1.30pm on Thursday 10th March 
Hear from Rob Manning and Dave Philp
In addition to the BIM Task Group update, there are also speakers from 10am-4pm each day from some of the leaders in BIM across the UK. Check out the full programme below...

Both myself and Ian Chapman from NBS will be there each day - so please come and say hello if you are attending.

The seminar series is sponsored by Wavin.