Very good food was amply provided before it was back to decisions decisions yet again. Do I attend the main plenary or drop into the series of specialised workshops below:
- Workshop 1: BIM for SME’s Jon Frost (BWB Consulting)
- Workshop 2: BIM for Public Sector Clients Alexander Worp & Yannick Vos (Schiphol Airport) Alison Watson (Class of Your Own)
- Workshop 3: BIM for Private Sector Clients Andy Smith (Waitrose) Gary Nodwell (United Utilities)
- Workshop 4: BIM for Designers/Consultants Martin Simpson (Arup) Mark Wright (Shared Vision)
- Workshop 5: BIM for Conractors/Tier 1’s Chloe Obi (Bouygues UK) Sarah McKinnell (Willmott Dixon)
- Workshop 6: BIM for Supply Chain Richard Ogden (Buildoffsite)
I went to the plenary, if you attended any of the workshops then spill the beans in the comments below!
Plenary: Panel Discussion - Putting Interoperability in a BIM Context
Jennifer Whyte (Imperial College) chaired the expert panel that quickly discussed BIM and interoperability with aplomb and plenty of questions soon followed. Peter Vale (Tideway) Nick Harris (Cadline) and Ilka May (Arup) also discussed at length:
- Increasing interoperability to gain flexibility throughout the project lifecycle
- OpenBIM and the importance of semantic interoperability
- To COBie or not to COBie?
- What is needed from the industry and vendors to achieve truly open industry standards?
Each item was skilfully criticised and dissected with Ilka noting that in terms of language then things like the BSDD were the most promising thing out there but other items like standardising critical product parameters were still needed “manufacturers are itching to be told how to structure their data”. Nick pointed out that PDT’s need to be right and correct which lead Jeff Stephens (Vinci) to lament regarding the lag in time to look at delivering standards despite pressure to do so since at least 2002.
Several panel and audience members were critical of a loss of current day focus and making the best of what we’ve got but there were frustrations with software vendors not doing enough too. Prompting Ilka to conclude “procurement is the only ‘lever’ we have over vendors and specifying open standards is the only way to accellerate any real interoperability overall”.
The delegates then learned that there has since been some progress with an IFC for Bridges and Roads and Rail recent too.
Another audience member also noted that many public jobs seemed to specify Open standards whereas private projects tended to state specific software instead. Have you noticed this too? Please comment below.
Fostering Digital Innovation: Embracing New Technologies and Disruption
I’ve enjoyed presentations from Alain Waha (Buro Happold) before and this was no exception. Always very forward thinking, positive and critical a philosphical look at BIM and thinking well and truly outside the box was presented.
With a data centric future beckoning us all Alain demonstrated in house developments that saw specialist computer coding being used to design buildings seemilgly in an automated fashion, at least at concept stage. Coding is king and most elements of Alains talk were genuinely fascinating.
Musa Chunge (Flint & Neil) sensibly asked about risk in approaches like this (automated design) with Alain recognising “Computers go wrong - new ways new risks!” which is the harsh reality that faces all progress of a genuine nature really.
Heathrow T3IB: Proving Value through Digital Management in Asset Creation, Commissioning and Whole Life.
With confidence and dry humour Richard Butterfield (Amey) and Augusto Siguero (Ferrovial) brought the show back down to earth with a case study looking at the incredibly complex baggage handling systems at T3 and a room debate persisted for some time while we all tried to guess what cost savings the project had enjoyed from implementing BIM. Most guessed around 20% but the final answer, or kind of answer, was between 3% and 7%.
Nick Boyle (Balfour Beatty) criticised the figures from other benefits that were hard to measure (such as implementing Lean) but one great point was that the “old schoolers” on the project could compare old and new practices well, but were not as fluid in BIM processes as they were the processes of old so it wasn’t a fair comparison. A very subtle but very valid point there, and one that’s incredibly hard to measure.
The UK: Mirror to the World
An interesting look at the reach and influence of the UK BIM approach elsewhere was delivered by Teodoro and Ricardo (of Ferrovial Agroman). The pair detailed lessons learnerd from working over here with Laing O Rourke and learning from UK clients too (especially in terms of utilising CDE’s).
As powerful as the steps taken to implement BIM however was the UK’s culture of Health & Safety which they admitted was more lacking but just as desirable back home. The team also discussed and presented their in house BIM approach and it was interesting to see just how influential the UK was being.
Please feel free to comment below.
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