The Future of BIM Conference 2015, Salford University

The Future of BIM Conference 2015, Salford University

The day consisted of various presentations from leading BIM academics and sponsors to an attentive audience. Delegates came from other UK universities, software businesses and local authority representatives.

A complete digital construction industry?

Following a warm welcome from Salford University’s Professor Jason Underwood, in which the speaker outlined the transformation to the construction industry that BIM will ultimately deliver, Peter Trebilcock from Balfour Beatty then highlighted some of the benefits of BIM to recent projects with the key message being how BIM can mitigate risk and ultimately ensure financial savings and reduced costs. One delegate asked Peter how far away he thought we were from a complete digital construction industry – to which Peter suggested about two years, before adding that the USA were ninety-nine per cent there already, implying that it was inevitable in the UK and elsewhere.

When to adopt BIM?

Dr Alan Jones from Environmental Design Solutions Ltd then gave a talk expanding on their thermal analysis software processes and explained the benefits this could bring to BIM, followed by an engaging talk from Daniel Leech from the TDS Academy. Dan explained from an SME perspective the reasons behind BIM adoption, or potential lack of it, citing age, ego and experience as all being factors in adoption decisions. For TDS Midlands Ltd, trying to encourage BIM adoption earlier in the construction process is seen as vital to their success as a business in the long term – with obvious benefits to their clients. He stated that BIM is not a 3D model, it’s a process – and whilst 3D modelling is a valuable component of BIM – the benefits of BIM do not rest entirely on visualisation. This was a point repeated by different speakers throughout the day, by Business Collaborator’s Paul Houghton and Rick Cooper and by Salford University’s Visiting Professor Martin Simpson, who said:

“BIM is not about buying a piece of software out of a box…fundamentally, it’s about sharing structured information”.

Structured and shareable data

It was the focus on data, structured information sharing and semantic web technologies that were key to the learning outcomes of this conference and to the future of BIM, and together with presentations from various companies such as Asite, Bentley, Atlas Cloud, Weinerberger and Steljes, and with much focus on the Common Data Environment (CDE), it was an insightful day.

Perhaps though, the most passionate presentation came from Nicholas Nisbet from buildingSMART. He stated categorically that BIM was about semantic technologies, linked and structured data. He said that the biggest problem with BIM was the ‘B’ – when in fact the most important aspect of BIM is that “it’s simply about shareable, structured information”.

Memorable quotes of the day

Nicholas Nisbet, buildingSMART: “B in BIM is the big problem…It’s simply about shareable, structured information.”

Martin Simpson, Arup Group: “BIM isn’t about buying a piece of software out of a box…it’s about sharing structured information.”

Paul Daynes, Cadventure Ltd: “The Common Data Environment…it’s not just thinking about what you do, it’s thinking about the next person who has access to that information.”

Paul Surin, Wienerberger Ltd: “We want to be in BIM because otherwise there will be a big cost…”

Chris Southern, Steljes Ltd: “A team that shares will out-gun a group of individuals everytime.”

Paul Houghton, Business Collaborator Ltd: “BIM Level 6 – world peace!”

Copied from Paul Baguley Blog.

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