Wednesday, 5 October 2016

First Fiver - Newcastle Snow Dogs

I saw the #firstfiver campaign on Twitter last month, where everyone is encouraged to give the first new design five pound note to charity and thought, it was a really nice idea.

Earlier this week I got my first fiver (the change from a lovely jacket potato at independent Newcastle sandwich bar Hippo House) and wondered who to give it to?

Well, the easy decision was St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice who NBS are currently supporting as part of the Newcastle Snow Dogs initiative. Our snow dog was painted by Newcastle College - black and white - and called WorGeordie.

Lots of fund raising activities are planned over the next few months - but nice to be able to give my #firstfiver to a good cause.

Some Snow Dog photographs from lunchtime walk around the Quayside and then evening walk up to Newcastle University and back...
Arriving into Central Station - On the right in the distance is the 'New castle'
Our very own Wor Geordie Snow Dog with our Old Post Office building in the background

Three snow dogs on display in the Sage Gateshead with RIBA Sterling Prize winning Millennium Bridge in the background

Outside of the Sage Gateshead
Pitcher and Piano pub with Tyne Bridge in the background
Newcastle Eldon Square shopping centre
The beautiful Theatre Royal on Grey Street
Looking up Grey Street to Central Arcade, Greys Monument and the Monument Mall
So, if you are wondering what to do with your first fiver - then maybe a donation to one of your local charities would be a nice touch.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Free resources from NBS

At NBS, we have our paid-for subscription offerings such as our specification tools and the services we provide to help connect manufacturers with specifiers. But, over and above this, we have a number of resources that are free to the industry to make use of.

With this in mind, it was fantastic to see an email pointing out one example of how the NBS Periodic Table of BIM was being used to help inform the industry about the subject.

The following video shows Berian Davies from BAM Group Ireland deliver an introduction to BIM using the NBS Periodic Table as the structure of the session:

Other free resources you may want to explore include:

Hopefully, a few of these help with your daily project work. It's great to see professionals making use of these when I am out and about (and of course, occasionally on youtube!).

Friday, 30 September 2016

One of the best places to work in the North East

Fantastic to be recognised by the local Newcastle paper The Journal as being one of the best places to work in the North East.
NBS in The Journal
Some of our NBS team in our new office
The article looks at the people that make up NBS and the various roles across the business. It also looks at our soon to be complete refurbishment project of the historic Grade II listed Old Post Office building at the heart of Newcastle city centre.

To view the visualisation of our newly refurbished building please see the video below...

For all articles on our website on the subject of our city centre refurbishment project please see

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Autodesk Forge Viewer

Not really a blog post to any extent.

Just checking out the sharing features within A360 and seeing the Forge 3D viewer in an embedded window...
Sharing the uploaded model

Update - seems to work fine in Internet Explorer - but Google Chrome is currently not allowing it work...
Definitely working in Internet Explorer

Friday, 16 September 2016

Three new enhancements to the BIM Toolkit

The latest update to the free-to-use BIM Toolkit has some nice new enhancements included.

Since the launch of the BIM Toolkit in April 2015 we have been steadily adding improvements in response to feedback from those working on live projects. This work to date has included the ability to search and filter the data, the ability to provide access to other members of the project team, the delivery of an API to access the library data and also a full set of classification tables.

However, the most recent enhancements include:

1. Help your clients at strategy and brief stage
At the start of the project, prior to the team being assembled, the client may work with a consultant to put together a digital plan of work.

At this stage of a project, the specific deliverables will probably not be known. For example, it will be known that the architect will be responsible for the design of the doors. But it will not yet be known whether there will be sliding, automatic or folding doors. Equally, it will be known that the maintenance information for the heat emitters will be required at handover - but will not be known whether air curtains, fan convectors or radiators will be specified.

In this new update, the consultant may work with the client to add items at the third level of the classification structure into the plan of work, assign them to the likely discipline and add a brief note against each item.

As an example, the screenshot below shows that structural framing systems have been assigned to the Structural Engineer and a briefing note has been added based on the client's similar previous projects. Note that at this stage a firm decision has not been made as to what type of framing system (whether steel, concrete, timber etc...)
Defining responsibilities prior to the design stages starting
For those working to BIM Level-2, this information can be exported to form part of the Employer's Information Requirements and then the BIM Execution Plan.

As the project develops and the concepts have been agreed the design team that has been appointed will then make these decisions. The screenshot below shows that the structural engineer has now selected the specific systems using the new 'system picker'.

Also shown in the screenshot is an indicator to the project team on how many decisions are remaining. The initial digital plan of work acts as a checklist for the design and specification decisions at Stage 3 of a project.
Selecting the systems to be designed and specified.
For those project team members using NBS Create, the data from this digital plan of work can then be used to generate a specification that is ready to be prepared. This can be achieved by selecting each of the specific systems and then clicking the 'Generate Specification' button.

Although the above example looks at design, this BIM Toolkit 'picker' functionality also works for the handover stage too. An example would be where the heat emitter deliverable is replaced by air curtains and fan convectors once this is known.

2. Start a job with template deliverables
The previously described ability to bridge the information flow gap between strategy/brief and design was the number one request. However, shortly following this was the feedback that it would be really useful to have an '80/20' list of the likely deliverables on a project.

The basic RIBA Plan of Work template project now contains around 160 systems for a 'typical' building. It is hoped that this helps users get started and aids the initial conversation between the consultant and the client when considering information requirements. If at the start of a project it is known that no excavating and filling is needed - this item can be deleted. Equally, if a more unusual item such as straw bale walling is to be used, then this can be added to the list using the 'Add deliverable' button.

80/20 inclusion of systems in a typical building
Thanks must go to our NBS Advisory Panel who helped put this list together over the last few months based on their experience on recent projects.

3. See a case study of a real project
The third main enhancement is the ability to quickly open up and glance through a real life project. The screenshot below shows that the user can select a case study example from the new project wizard.
Select a case study
At the time of writing this blog, there is a case study for a school project. Hopefully over the coming months we'll get a few more case studies in from different sectors. Example content from this case study can be seen below. It should be noted that example briefing notes can be seen against each deliverable that are relevant to a school project.

Example school project.
Many thanks to Alistair from Manchester City Council and Mark S from PCSG for their support with this case study :)

So, it's great to see the BIM Toolkit continuing the improve in response to customer needs. The whole web application is completely free to use and this includes (a) the level of definition guides, (b) the classification tables and (c) the digital plan of work functionality. We hope you are finding it a great resource whether you are working to BIM Level 2 - or whether you simply just want a well-structured design responsibility matrix and schedule of services.

Please check out:
- A three minute video introduction to the BIM Toolkit
- A detailed introduction to the BIM Toolkit
- Case study - The BIM Toolkit being used on a Secondary School project

Also, a free webinar will take place at 11.15am on Friday 7th October 2016 where my colleague Sarah Grey will be demonstrating these recent enhancements and answering questions. To book your place - please see the webpage below:

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Periodic Table of BIM and Social Media

Back in June we published the Periodic Table of BIM. This was basically a table of contents covering all aspects of BIM to introduce the industry to this topic.

In July, my colleague Stefan Mordue decided to stick it on the side of a mug and ask social media who wants one.

I've just returned from a two week holiday to see that the hashtag #cuppabim went a little crazy when I was away.

A selection of some of the best ones below...
My clear favourite
National BIM Library objects in action
Flown all of the way to Dublin
Stop the meeting for a photo of the periodic table on the big screen!

One sent to our #BIMGeordie friends up the road
Every noticeboard needs a period table of BIM
Loving the selfies
Hard hats and cool mugs
The revolving door BIM object seems to be a bit of a favourite
A cuddly panda, a cuddly owl and the periodic table of BIM - the three essentials for any workspace
To see what all of the fuss originally was about...

Friday, 15 July 2016

Construction News Awards 2016 - BIM Excellence

Interserve Construction won the BIM Excellence award at yesterday evening's CN Awards.
Interserve win
Speaking to one of the judges at the event yesterday, they were heavily praised for the way they have adopted BIM through their organisation and the support structure they have put in place. An overview of their entry is below...
The notes from the winners booklet
At NBS, we were very pleased to be shortlisted - having our name side by side with the likes of Interserve, BDP, Carillion, GBE, Mouchel, SES and Skanska is an achievement in itself.

Some more photographs from the night and a little bit more on our entry below...
The NBS Table 
Kevin Bridges was an excellent host - pictured with NBS imagery as his back drop
The shortlist of eight
In terms of the NBS entry, I include some slides below from the pitch that myself and Stefan delivered a few months back...
Helping define BIM Level-2
Collaborating across industry to produce the free-to-use BIM Toolkit
A tool that clearly defines who will do what and when following the PAS1192 process
A focus on information requirements
How the wider NBS BIM ecosystem allows design, specification and library information to come together
The powerful connections between the NBS premium offerings

Not just BIM success on an exemplar project - but helping professionals succeed with BIM around the world
But unfortunately, not successful this year... maybe next year?
CN Awards 2016
More on NBS and BIM below...

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Win a limited edition BIM mug

When Stefan from NBS got a mug printed featuring the Periodic Table of BIM he didn't expect to receive 40+ likes on Twitter and many requests for us to send out mugs in the post.
Our web team then set a challenge to those that want a free mug through the post. For details on the challenge please see the webpage below:

So if you want an exclusive limited edition collectors' BIM mug of your own - let's see your tweet with a photo or screenshot of how NBS is helping your organisation digitally.

An example screenshot for inspiration is below. This is just a collection of images showing NBS content on a real life project helping designer, contractor and contract administrator...
(A tweet with an image like this would definitely win a mug)
Example screenshot
Check out the conversation so far...