Wednesday, 27 February 2013

ecobuild 2013 - What to do each day

If you are attending ecobuild this year then it would be wonderful if you could find the time to come and attend one of the presentations at the RIBA Village (S1230 and S1330).

Mark Bew being interviewed last year at RIBA Village
There is space to have a sit down and grab a complimentary tea or coffee, maybe browse some books or meet  NBS staff for one-to-one software demonstrations and also there is the return of the successful "bite sized" presentations. Informal 15 minute presentations that you can just turn up to and listen to without the need to book.

Here are the NBS activities each day...


14:00 - Richard Waterhouse
RIBA Village - S1230 and S1330

  • 10.30 - Robert King and Lucy Wood, David Millar Architects - Real world BIM and sustainability in practice
  • 11.00 - Andrew Soper, RIBA Insight - Tips for manufactures on how to get in front of specifiers
  • 11.30 - Drew Wiggett, NBS - National BIM Library
  • 12.00 - Chris Okure, RIBA Insight - The power of CPD
  • 12.30 - Koko Udom, NBS - Achieving sustainability on construction projects
  • 13.00 - Richard Wise, Ryder Architecture - BIM implementation on Manchester Town Hall
  • 13.30 - Victoria Fleming, NBS - NBS Create
  • 14.00 - Richard Waterhouse, NBS - Address from the CEO
  • 14.30 - John Gelder, NBS - Sustainability 2013
  • 15.00 - Stephen Hamil, NBS - Specification in a BIM world *
  • 15.30 - Richard Watson, NBS - Future developments from NBS
And elsewhere for BIM fans...
I have the pleasure of opening up the ecobuild 2013 Better through BIM main seminar series (Seminar Room 2) by chairing the "Reducing waste through BIM" session at 10.45.
10:45 SR2 - Reducing waste through BIM
This session has excellent speakers from Ryder, Hilson Moran, Balfour Beatty and Kingspan Insulation.

* My 3pm session at the RIBA Village will be a live demo of the plug-in functionality we are developing linking specification with BIM. Disclaimer: NBS Create is not the only software application within a BIM environment :) - but there are also others like Solibri, Revit, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks etc... that our information must flow between.
15:00 S1230 - Two BIM apps communicating
...and finally, Drew Wiggett, NBS will also be presenting National BIM Library at 13:00 at the Vectorworks stand N420.


14:30 - Ian Chapman
RIBA Village - S1230 and S1330

  • 10.30 - John Gelder and panel, NBS - Sustainability
  • 11.00 - Victoria Fleming, NBS - NBS Create
  • 11.30 - Stephen Hamil - National BIM Library
  • 12.00 - Clair Hillier, NBS - Spec Master Online
  • 12.30 - Belinda Beake, NBS - Specification for manufacturers
  • 13.00 - Keith Wilson, NBS - Top 10 sustainable living standards and regs
  • 13.30 - Paul Chappel, RIBA Appointments - Finding a job - standing out
  • 14.00 - Joe Cilia, AIS - Environmental fit-out
  • 14.30 - Ian Chapman, NBS - The future of construction information
  • 15.00 - Bill Gething, FCBStudios - Designing in a changing climate
  • 15.30 - Hugh Pearman and panel, RIBA Journal - Sustainable buildings by design
And elsewhere for BIM fans...
I am chairing a BIM seminar at the ecobuild 2013 Buildings in use seminar series (Seminar Room 6) by chairing the "Using BIM to measure, monitor and manage energy use" session at 14.30.
14:30 SR6 - Using BIM to measure, monitor and manage energy use
The session has fantastic speakers from BIM Task Group, Architype and Rider Levett Bucknall.

* My session at the RIBA Village at 11.30am will be a live demo of the National BIM Library. I'll also be doing a National BIM Library presentation at the Vectorworks stand at N420 at 13.00.

11.30 S1230 - National BIM Library


12:30 - Dale Sinclair
RIBA Village - S1230 and S1330

  • 10.30 - Adrian Malleson, NBS - The National BIM Report 2013
  • 11.00 - Victoria Fleming, NBS - NBS Create
  • 11.30 - Stefan Mordue, NBS - BIM and Health and Safety
  • 12:00 - Justin Bere, bere:architects - Passivhaus
  • 12:30 - Dale Sinclair, Dyer - RIBA Plan of Work 2013
  • 13:00 - John Tebbit, CPA - BIM and manufacturers
  • 13:30 - Paul Swaddle, NBS - The future of training in construction industry
  • 14:00 - Rebecca De Cicco, KSS Group - Quality information through the project timeline
  • 14:30 - John Gelder, NBS - BREEAM and NBS
  • 15:00 - Andrew Soper - RIBA Insight - Tips for manufactures on how to get in front of specifiers
  • 15:30 - Simon Rawlinson, EC Harris - Contracts and Law

And elsewhere for BIM fans...
Not a bad day at ecobuild to finish off on with respect to BIM - you can listen to our Market Research Manager Adrian Malleson give his expert opinions on the survey behind the National BIM Report 2013 at 10.30. Then maybe listen to Stefan Mordue talk BIM and Health and Safety at 11.30. Then after a quick bite to eat it is the HM Government session in Seminar Room 2 at 12:30:
All the main players are in the room - Mark Bew, Dave Philp, Simon Rawlinson, Mervyn Richards, Jaimie Johnston and Roy Evans. Find out all you need to know about the latest processes and protocols and the fantastic labs area of the BIM Task Group website.

And if this is all not enough, I'll be on the Twyford Bathrooms stand S320 demonstrating the fantastic new SpecMaster Online tool that our NBS R&D team have developed. Web technology is advancing fast and we think that this is possibly the best online specification tool out there. You will be able to see all of the things you'd expect from an NBS specification tool (template clauses,  guidance and suggested values) - but also linked spaces and systems and products to ensure robust model that can then be exported to a number of formats. I'll be there at 10:30 and 14:15.
14:15 - Twyford Bathrooms SpecMaster Online tool
And to top it all off, we'll also have a ecobuild 2013 blog and our marketing team will be blogging and tweeting throughout the three days. It should be a great event!

Monday, 25 February 2013

BDTwitter100 - Top Ten BIM Tweeters

As a child I dreamed of being considered for a FIFA footballer of the year award or maybe if I didn't make it as a footballer, then perhaps being short-listed for an NME award....

...but never in my wildest dreams did I ever consider I'd be listed in the BDOnline Top Ten BIM Tweeters in the UK Construction Industry!

In all seriousness though, delighted to be in such fantastic company as the other nine tweeters mentioned. We have:

If you are not on Twitter then it's definitely worth signing up.

If you are on Twitter - and interested in BIM/the role of technology in the construction industry - then you could do a lot worse than follow the nine tweeters above...

...or name your first born Rob. :)


Update (26/2) - Some thoughts from Twitter...

...and a reminder of a Not The Nine O'Clock News sketch from @DMA_Architects

Friday, 22 February 2013

How many developers does it take to write an operating system?

Bill - not Alan
At work we have a lively internal blog that is shared within our Research and Development department. An interesting post below from our Software Development Manager, Alan Smith, from the NBS side of the business...
I often wonder how many developers it takes to create things like Windows 7 and Microsoft Office. I happened upon this blog the other day:

It's written on the behalf of the Windows 7 development team and I found this part is really enlightening: "the Windows 7 engineering team is made up of about 25 different feature teams. A feature team represents those that own a specific part of Windows 7—the code, features, quality, and overall development. The feature teams represent the focus of work and coordination across the team. This also provides a much more manageable size—feature teams fit in meeting spaces, can go to movies, and so on. On average a feature team is about 40 developers, but there are a variety of team sizes."
So 1,000 software professionals to write Windows 7. Over the years we have not had quite that much resource to write NBS Specification Manager, NBS Building, NBS Contract Administrator, NBS Create etc... but still, when I am out and about showing off our products, I am pretty proud of what our design, development and testing teams have produced over the years.

Friday, 15 February 2013

NBS and Structured Data

I've been on the road out and about on NBS duties over the last two or three weeks. My time seems to be spent split between discussing how to enhance our products and services to meet the need of manufacturers and the how to meet the needs of construction professionals. Both seem to boil down to the same thing though - (a) structure the data correctly and (b) present this in an intuitive way. This topic is explored further in the two examples below...

1. Interview with Pauley Creative
Pauley Creative are expert advisers to construction manufacturers when it comes to digital marketing. I was interviewed by Pritesh from Pauley Creative on the topic of what manufacturers need to know about BIM.

PC – If there was one message to manufacturers with respect to their BIM strategy what would it be?
SJH – The simple single message is to focus on the quality of your content – the rest will follow.
Fig 1. What building product manufacturers need to know about BIM
2. Article on
I've been meeting with a number of large contractors over recent months and discussing how a structured approach to data can definitely enhance information flow and collaboration on large projects. This also has the secondary benefit of looking over past projects and using this data to learn for future jobs.

Assurances are needed for the following:
- The data must be consistent and to a standard structure
- The data must be robust and to a high quality
- The data must originate from a trusted library that is maintained.
Fig 2. The benefits of using a structured approach to data
The other job this week has been trying to find the time to help our Market Research team pull together the National BIM Report 2013. Keep an eye out for this in the next few weeks! It'll be a free download again from the BIM area of our website:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

ecobuild - Better with BIM

The line-ups for the ecobuild "Better with BIM" seminar series are now online. I went to a few of these last years and they were all "standing room only".

We have...

Tuesday 5th March:
  • Chap called Hamil from NBS
  • Richard Wise, Ryder Architecture
  • Nigel Clark, Hilson Moran
  • Kevin Lloyd, Balfour Beatty
  • Alan Garbutt, Manchester City Council
  • Andy Radley, Laing O'Rourke
  • Liam Brady, Manchester City Council
  • Peter Chambers, Emprise Services
  • Kate Fletcher, Arup Associates
  • David Hammond, MACE
Wednesday 6th March:
  • Professor David Greenwood, Northumbria Uni
  • Adam Mactavish, Sweet Group
  • Peter Barker, BIM Academy
  • Alan Clucas, Explore Industrial Park
  • James Middling, Mott MacDonald
  • Professor Jennifer White, University of Reading
  • Paul Zuccherelli, Davis Langdon
  • Bill Davis, MofJ
  • Malcom Taylor, Crossrail
  • Professor Steve Lockley, BIM Academy
  • Chris Boyce, Capita Symonds
  • Nick Tune, BRE
  • Dries Hagen, Circle
Thursday 7th March
  • Alastair McCapra, Landscape Institute
  • Martyn Horne, Vectorworks
  • Mike Shilton, Key Traffic Systems
  • Mark Bew, buildingSMART UK
  • Dave Philp, Cabinet Office
  • Simon Rawlinson, EC Harris,
  • Jaimie Johnston, Bryden Wood Association
  • Mervyn Richards, PAS1192:2
  • Professor David Greenwood, Northumbria Uni
  • Richard Shennan, Mott MacDonald
  • Andy Glyde, Bentley Systems
  • George Mokhtar, BIM Academy
I am also chairing a BIM session on the Wednesday as part of the buildings in use seminar stream with Roy Evans (UK Gov), Elrond Burrell (Architype) and Brendan Patchell (RLB).

So the best free three days on BIM anyone could ask for - sign up now...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Going for Gold

This week I have been out and about around London - yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the RIBA Gold Medal awards dinner (more on this later). But also we found out that our NBS service was a finalist at the Building Awards. The category we are in is BIM Initiative of the Year, sponsored by Autodesk.
National BIM Library up for BIM Initiative of the Year
The other finalists are:
  • BIMNet - A London-based networking event series. It has recently featured speakers such as Dave Philp from the Cabinet Office and our very own CEO Richard Waterhouse.
  • Costain - Engineering solutions providers who specialise in BIM.
  • Crossrail - One of the biggest UK programmes of work that has involved structured standardised data and supply-chain education
  • Levitt Bernstein Associates - Leading architectural practice and one of the organisers of BIMNet
  • Speller Metcalfe and Worcestershire County Council - Award winning construction company and BIM savvy client
We were runners up at the recent Computer Construction Awards in the BIM Product to Watch category. Fingers crossed that we maybe go one better this time. Whatever the result though, it's great to be recognised again.

Back to RIBA Gold Medal... this award was established in 1848 and is approved personally by the Queen.
RIBA Gold Medal - Angela Brady on the big screen
Honorary Fellowships awards included:
The winner of the actual "gold medal" was renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. A few pictures of his beautiful designs are below...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

BIM Show Live - Proposal Submitted

I've gone for a 15 minutes technology presentation slot at this years BIM Show Live 2013. Hopefully it will be accepted, it will be nice to demo live software as opposed to present Powerpoint slide after Powerpoint slide.

Ian Chapman the NBS Head of Specification and buildingSMART UK director will be putting a proposal in for the main classrooms.

Anyway, my proposal was as follows...

Stephen will start with a concept building design in a BIM authoring package and show how an outline specification can be automatically be generated from this. The central BIM and specification model will stay coordinated as modifications are made to both. Finally this data will come together using IFC data standards and be viewed using the COBie data schema. Software from at least three vendors will be used.

This work flow will revolutionise the way that construction projects are being delivered in the UK today. It is unique at an international level.

Microsoft Powerpoint will not be used. In fact Microsoft Powerpoint will be removed from Stephen’s machine before the session. All demonstrations will be of live software, much of it written by the R&D team at NBS here in the UK.

Speaker Biography
Stephen first started working on NBS products in 1999 and has played a big part in the developments of products such as NBS Building, NBS Create and the National BIM Library. He has a particular interest in Building Information Modelling and has been one of those who had led the work at NBS changing specification data from "words on a page" to "intelligent objects describing the building". Prior to joining NBS, Stephen studied at Durham University. His first degree was in Structural Engineering followed by a PhD in the digital modelling of building structures.

Three learning objectives for class:
1. Learn how BIM can be more than just geometry and how it can allow information on a project to be modelled and coordinated
2. Learn about IFC generation and its relationship to the UK Government’s COBie 2012 requirements
3. Learn how specification is now a modelled process and no longer simply the generation of a paper document

Demonstration style:
Live software presentation – no sales banter – knowledgeable, succinct, straight to the point, dynamic and lively.

Target audience:
Technology geeks will be intrigued – but chief executives will also immediately “get it”.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


I am not really one for the #FF messages on Twitter each week - I think it is an impossible task to mention everyone
 ...and then this Friday the BDOnline BDTwitter100 2013 nominations opened. Which Twitter folk would you like to nominate from the architectural community. "Oh No!" more pressure on having to pick people.

Well I thought the only fair way to do this was to thank the people active on Twitter who have supported NBS over the last 12 months either by (1) taking the time to provide articles for our BIM Hub or (2) taking the time to speak at conferences we helped run.

So I am nominating the following...
BDTwitter100 - How many do you follow?
See if you can match the faces and the names to the twitter handles below...


and of course not forgetting the official NBS twitter handle - theNBS