ICE BIM 2016 – Part 1


Implementing Digital Excellence - A four part Article.

Another superb event from the ICE that saw an abundance of experts and dedicated specialists get to grips with the digital advancements that are being made in infrastructure today. The keynote speakers were:

Kicking off proceedings was Tim Broyd, senior VP (now P) of the ICE. Tim spoke with a confidence that only years of public speaking can conjure and he ran through the order of the day and the housekeeping that would be necessary during the yearly pilgrimage to the Victoria Plaza – the perfect venue for the day.

BIM Level 2 Challenges and Level 3 Strategy

First up was Mark Bew (Chair of the Govt BIM Working Group) to tell delegates in his positive nay chipper manner about the progress made since the mandate and the government plans for Level 3. A strategic overview was provided that got to the point, focussing on benchmarking developments, procurement and the position of the UK overall. The UKAS accreditation proposals (and considerations) were also put forward too, addressing alignment among certification providers.

Yes, of course Brexit came up, among many other things, as did the fact that we also have thousands of assets that we know nothing about, a hint towards “retrospective BIM” there.

Mark’s presentation was forthright and complete, really demonstrating the scope that the task group has and the challenges faced despite strong yet continued progress overall.

BIM Level 2 – Responding to the Government’s Challenges

Mark’s presentation set the scene for Dr Anne Kemp (Chair UK BIM Alliance, Atkins) to really make a splash and assert herself in a sure footed and diplomatic way. Anne confidently discussed the imporance of “what are you doing while waiting for the government?” and really hammered it home that Level 2 is on the verge of seeming dull in the face of Level 3 - yet “it’s all there, all the fancy drones and the tech all that stuff can be included in Level 2 it’s already there”.

Anne spoke about the (very) newly formed UK BIM Alliance and the reach and appeal that the organisation already has (complete with the backing of key signatories). Indeed the UK BIM Alliance is firmly on it’s way to being seen as the one stop shop for industry Level 2 help and support (built on the BIM4’s and the BIM Regions).

Anne also took the lead and vowed to ensure that any “bad blood” between the myriad other UK centric organisations now needs to be a thing of the past as well. A surprise to many but sane words indeed - especially when UK plc is at stake.

Data: The Past Present and Future of Infrastructure Assets

The next keynote was Herman Winkels (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure). Herman used relaxed humour to give us a welcome take on digital implemetation overseas. The pitfall of different ICT systems managing the same data was examined and several case studies backed up his views.

“Right information right standards right time” was the mantra and the technique of asking for information every 3 months from the constructor in order to really stay on top of data deliverables was appreciated by all.

The value of OpenBIM standards (open data standards) was also explained, not least the importance of the BSDD (BuildingSMART Data Dictionary).

International Case Study – 5D Implementation (Rail - Germany)

Now this knocked me for six. Brace yourself for WorldInSight (a clever name indeed). Dr Ilka May and Kim Jung started off proceeding lamenting about the dire state of many German infrasturcture projects and just how badly behind cost/schedule they were.With little promise of the creation of a govermment Task Group a la the UK, the prominent German organisations decided to organise their own and Planen Bauen was formed.

Since then, technological developments have clearly run rife. Using a gaming engine and hundreds of photographs the WorldInSight tool, as demonstrated in use at Deutche Bahn (think British Rail, but good) provided the necessary wow factor to close the keynote presentations. Photogrammetry was used to model entire German towns to an accuracy of 100mm. Not dynamite in terms of precision, but the data needed to create a very detailed model the size of the city of London could be as small as 3 to 4Gb!

Pointclouds can over course be overlayed in the model viewer and the model then nudged to fit. However the near instant facility to switch between design and phasing options and to really communicate design intent to all stakeholders in a relatively tiny file was genuinely innovative here and wonderful to see.

Indeed, combined with a substantial object library the team showed an automatically exploded view of a bridge with all objects included (even screws) allowing for perfect object counts too. Here was a tool that has been a long time coming (and one that we will look to feature more in depth).

Choice Q&A:

Dan Rossiter (BRE) keenly asked how we make sense of data validation going forward and prompted Mark Bew to talk about stretch targets and the like. Also a “COBie vs COINS” debate was mentioned at one point too.

Hugh Goldsmith (European Investment Bank) asked if data should be public or private? A superb question that lead to musings on how data is valued and that usually who funded it gets the value. Herman commenting that it should be in the public domain while Anne and Peter Parslow (Ordnance Survey) largely agreed - but with concerns about security. Ilka simply wished that Germany would “recognise the value of data in the first place”.

Alex Small (Tata Steel) asked if the Govenment has done enough to ensure early supplier engagement to which Mark Bew admitted they’d since “learned a lot” over the years.

Anthony Oliver (Emap Construct) questioned how the government will get industry to adopt Level 3? What will cause the buzz this time? Would it be another mandate? Mark Bew admitted “it could well be another intervention like a mandate” but “it would have to be impeccably well timed”. Of course no details yet but a genuine headscratcher in terms of how to introduce this for the powers that be.

All in all a genuinely enlightening and fast paced opening that was well received by the large and attentive attendance. Click here for part 2.

Did you go? Do you agree? Any other questions? Add your comments below.

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