Monday, 19 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - 2011 almost over now.
Thanks to all those who have visited this blog and have provided feedback to the various NBS developments through the year. The chart below shows that this blog has had over 5,000 unique visitors this year compared with 2,000 in 2010.  

The top five articles in 2011 were:

1. Paul Morrell talks to NBS about BIM
A video interview with the UK Government's Chief Construction Advisor.

2. National BIM Library - Draft Content for Comment
The initial draft of walls and doors that were available for user comment.

3. NBS Create - Specification throughout the construction timeline
How the latest specification product from NBS allows specification to develop from outline through to performance to full to record.

4. The COBie data format and the Government's BIM Strategy
An introduction to the COBie data format that will be mandated on all central government projects.

5. NBS-NLA BIM Conference report
An overview from the first ever NBS BIM conference

The top five search terms were:
  1. paul morrell bim
  2. constructioncode blogspot nbs
  3. nbs specification clauses
  4. national bim library
  5. nbs create
Have a great Christmas break. Back again in 2012 for more on developments on National BIM Library, NBS Create, RIBA Product Selector, RIBA CPD and the Construction Information Service to name a few!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Google Analytics Real Time

Google continue to amaze with the functionality they give you for free.

Screenshot above is me checking this blog in Google Analytics at 11pm on a Thursday night. 3 visitors at that point in time. All arrived from Twitter. One from the North East, one from Midlands, one from South East.

thinkBIM - Half Day getBIM Conference - an update

Just a quick blog post to say that the BIM conference in Leeds on Wednesday was a really fantastic day.

Update from Paul 15/12 - All slides from the event will be available at the URL - 

A really good atmosphere and great use of technology to make things interesting and also involve others around the UK (and the world!).

1. Dedicated twitterers
There were two full time tweeters/live bloggers active on the day, Su Butcher (@SuButcher) and Paul Wilkinson (@EEPaul).

These two have an incredible 80,000 tweets and 14,000 followers between them. So they probably have forgotten more about Twitter than I'll ever know. :)

2. Live presentation from the USA
Mark Sawyer, CEO, VICO joined the conference by Skype to present his views on BIM.

3. Pecha Kucha Showcase
I'd never heard of  Pecha Kucha (although I thought I once ordered it in a restaurant with a.pint of Kingfisher to accompany it) But this was rapid fire presentation like never seen before. Exactly 20 slides, exactly 20 seconds per slide. Then done.

4. Roundtable discussions
I chaired the discussion on BIM and specification. The second of these was streamed live on the Internet and the live blogging by Su Butcher can be viewed at the website:
(click link above and scroll down page to the cover it live blog).

Some screen captures from this below...

3:12 The roundtable had started

3:25 Will the CAD model and the specification model integrate to form a true BIM?

3:35 How can the problem of interoperability possibly be solved?

3:58: We need standards, we need high quality library information for BIM

4:09 Software and data providers need to get together and give the users what they demand

And finally, a big "well done" to @ckegroup for doing a great job of putting the day together and running it so smoothly!

Monday, 12 December 2011

thinkBIM - Half day GetBIM conference - Leeds

This Wednesday I am attending the GetBIM conference in Leeds. I'll also be chairing one of the roundtable sessions. An overview of this session is below:


BIM and Specification 
Construction documentation has traditionally included drawings, specification and bill of quantities all issued on paper. The aim of Building Information Modelling is to fully coordinate this information digitally and for this information to flow from briefing through to the operation of the building in use.
This will fundamentally change the construction industry.
This roundtable session discusses what BIM means for specification.

  • Level-2 BIM is a managed 3D environment with data held in separate BIM tools. This is what UK government is mandating for 2016 on central government projects.
  • Level-3 BIM is a single BIM model through integration of the data in all BIM tools.
Key Questions for Roundtable Debate 
  • To reach level-2 BIM, how should the information in the specification and the CAD models be coordinated?
  • What does level-3 BIM mean for traditional drawings, specification and bill of quantities?
  • In a BIM-world, where will the technical guidance and cost (environment and financial) guidance come from?
  • In a BIM-world, where will the specification workmanship information come from?
  • How can manufacturers assist construction professionals in their use of BIM?
  • Will construction professionals be more likely to specify manufacturers who embraced BIM?
A couple of interesting articles on this subject are below, it'll be interesting however to see what the delegates on the day think.
  1. - RIBAE Exec Director Richard Watson gives his thoughts as part of the NBS specification survey 2011
  2. - NBS Head of Specification Ian Chapman looks at how BIM will change specification practice

Thursday, 8 December 2011

BIM Opportunities - video from NBS TV

Check out our latest NBS TV video about BIM online now...

Speakers include:
  • Claudio Benghi, member of the BIM Academy, Northumbria University
  • Hannah George, Associate, Norman Disney & Young
  • Karl Redmond, Chief Executive; Construction Sector Network
  • David de Yarza, BIM Director, Lydig Construction, Inc. USA
  • Richard Brindley, Group Director Membership & Professional Support, RIBA
  • Richard Saxon, RIBA Client Design Advisor
  • Me :)
  • Ruth Reed, immediate past-President, RIBA
  • Peter Caplehorn, Technical Director, Scott Brownrigg

Thursday, 1 December 2011

RIBA and BuildOffSite - Towards Intelligent Construction Conference

Yesterday I was one of the speakers at the RIBA and Buildoffsite Towards Intelligent Construction Conference at the RIBA in London.

The conference was kicked off by talks from Richard Ogden, the chairman of BuildOffSite and Angela Brady, President of RIBA. A few quotes I tweeted...

  • "Build off site is not a cottage industry anymore"
  • "Stunning design is possible by building off site"
    Richard Ogden

  • "Architects must make the most of the latest technologies, such as BIM"
  • "BIM - we need to grasp the opportunity now"
    Angela Brady

The first part of the conference was a number of presentations from the team behind the Leadenhall Building (aka The "Cheesegrater"). On stage were representatives from British Land, Rogers Stirk Harbour, Arup and Laing O'Rourke. It was absolutely fascinating stuff. And for BIM fans there was lots and lots there. How the structural steel was modelled and also a key part of the architecture. The myth that BIM is a single software package was dismissed as presentations showed rich digital information being passed from Tekla to Rhino to ANSA to Excel to Nastran. My favourite quote from Andy Butler from Laing O'Rourke was that "the construction was engineering, the engineering was architecture and the architecture is what is making the project work".

The second case study was from Circle's hospital construction team. Representatives from Circle, Fosters and Partners and Brydon Wood took the stage and again it was an inspirational set of presentations. How costs can be brought down from £3,500 per m2 to £2,500 m2 with a view to going down to £2,000 m2 whilst maintaining architectural integrity was shown. How was this being done? By using BIM to standardise rooms and equipment within the hospitals and also from learning from the previous build and feeding this knowledge into the next one - standardising what can be standardised, but giving enough freedom for the architecture.

Those that have been on this blog before will know how much of a BIM fan I am. But one thing I especially loved today was the completely un-ashamed use of slides showing initial concept designs using felt tip pens and pencils. When it comes to designing and developing the RIBAE software we use the latest technology and push the boundaries, but it all starts with pencil sketches on the back of envelopes. So I show no pictures of hospital or cheesegrater visualisations with this blog post, but some simple early stage sketches...

At the end of each case study was a RIBA presentation to summarise. This was a presentation from myself and one from Paul Fletcher. My job for the day was "BIM - the future". Whenever I think of "presenting the future" it takes me back to childhood and BBC's Tomorrow's World. So here are some slides, hopefully the narrative is self-explanatory...