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...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

ThinkBIM - Summer Conference 2016

Yesterday I chaired the ThinkBIM Summer Conference - Soft data, hard landings and asset management.

The theme was looking at stages 7, 0 and 1 of a project. How the needs of the 'in use' stage of a project could be considered at the 'strategy' and 'briefing' stage.

The venue for the ThinkBIM conferences is now the fantastic Squire Paton Boggs offices in Leeds City Centre. The photograph below shows the lovely new setting that mixes the old with the new in terms of architecture...
A new setting for ThinkBIM
Deborah Rowland was the first speaker. Deborah has experience in facility management in the private sector for Barclays and also as one of the leaders in the public sector through her work with Ministry of Justice.

To find out more about the MoJ story please see the link below:

Deborah also talked highly of the work being done by Andy Green from Faithful+Gould on linking SFG20 maintenance specifications with NRM and Uniclass 2015 codes to help with data flow from design and construction into operations.

Jacqueline Walpole then followed with her keynote. Jacqueline reflected back on the work she was involved in a few years ago with UCL Academy, BAM and Autodesk looking at FM and BIM solutions.

It was interesting listening to Jacqueline's expertise and seeing how digitised the FM industry already is. The challenge, as always, is to try and get digital information to flow and not to have to start from scratch at certain phases of the project.
A to-scale version of the plan of work that nicely illustrates the importance of the 'in use' phase
Following the opening two keynotes, it was time for the roundtables. For this event, I hosted a session looking at how lessons learned from the operation stages of previous projects can feed into an EIR template for future projects.
A digital technical structure to supplement the EIR process
ThinkBIM Duncan asked for five take-home points from the roundtable. So here we go...
  1. A few years on now since the publication of PAS1192:2 and 3 the participants are still not seeing many good examples of EIRs on projects. This includes projects where teams are working for extremely large clients who do many repeat similar buildings. The sample content on the BIM Task Group website and the documents made public from MofJ seem to be the best examples currently:
    - BIM Task Group sample EIR
    - MoJ sample documents
  2. Lessons learned on successes and failures can feed into the EIRs. A specific example given was repeated mistakes on wall covering solutions on multiple retail projects for the same client from different teams  - could be easily avoidable if this information was captured digitally and fed into a single template.
  3. Big clients could make big savings by employing one person to standardised their processes and concentrate on good data kicking off a project. If you are building 12 offices/superstore/schools per year - could you save at least £5K per project by employing someone to get the digital process right?
  4. A solution that allowed information to flow digitally from strategy to brief into the information production phases of a project would be well received. I presented some concepts as to how this could maybe be done through a template plan of work that considered space types and system types and it was well received. For example, a high school will have an assembly hall and washrooms and piling systems and heating systems etc... - having lessons learned captured in a template which then fed into design to ensure a better outcome when the school is used is something that would provide value.
  5. Could the various sector specific BIM4 groups contribute to sample templates that help their sectors? Sharing knowledge and making the industry more efficient? Many of the BIM groups have been receiving information from the central BIM Task Group over the last five years - is it now time for everyone to show how it can be done?
The final session was from Dr Graham Kelly from BIM Academy. He presented the work they have been doing in Australia with the Sydney Opera House.

This was a fascinating case study - plenty of web links below on how they are connecting many databases via an online 3D model viewer to meet the building's daily FM needs.

Graham from BIM Academy - using the 3D model, via a webbrowser for the FM of a major building
So all in all - another super ThinkBIM conference. Well done to all of the team that put it together and I look forward to the next one.

To view all of my posts from the ThinkBIM series over the last five years or so click below:

Friday, 1 July 2016

Tagging BIM objects

A little while ago I blogged about the new functionality available at NBS National BIM Library that allowed users to star their favourite objects.

This week, the personalisation features on the library have had another big enhancement.

The screen captures below shows how users can now group their favourite objects by a tag to allow easier re-use when searching or browsing...
Fig 1 - The user find an object they want to use and adds a tag (for example 'Retail')
Fig 2 - Later the user may search for content such as 'cubicle' and then refine the results by the tags
Fig 3 - Selecting the tag filter takes the search results from 33 to 1 
Fig 4 - If you have already added a tag, then these are available from a drop down list
Fig 5 - All of the objects that are tagged appear from the personalised home page
Fig 6 - By selecting a tag, all relevant objects may be seen
Fig 7 - The tagging feature also works for the users taking advantage of the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit
Fig 8 - The above screen grab is a genuine example from our own refurbishment project for our NBS building
For more on the latest improvements in functionality to the NBS National BIM Library see:

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Autodesk Forge Conference

I attended the Forge Conference last week to have a good look at the latest technology on offer from Autodesk.

Some interesting stuff, a collection of useful links and videos below...

In a nutshell, Forge is the name that is used for the core components that Autodesk are building their next generation cloud products on. It is a common base of components that is used by their AEC and their manufacturing products. However, the big difference is that these components are being packaged up so that other organisations can build software using these building blocks (for a pay-per-use fee).

The main man from Autodesk leading the activities was Jim Quanci who is definitely worth a follow on Twitter. Even though there were over 1,000 delegates at the conference, Jim seemed to be somehow finding the time to walk the floor and talk to every single person.

To watch the opening presentation from Amar Hanspal on the vision, please see below:

To watch the presentation from Ben Cochrane on some of the technology behind the scenes, please see below:

In terms of websites to explore to see the viewer in action - have a look at... - 3D model repository from The Netherlands... - Scaled back, clean, promo site...

The AEC case study was from Mark Stocks from JE Dunn who have developed their bespoke Sharepoint site with Autodesk Forge viewing and data management components within. This promotional video is worth a watch - the story from a napkin sketch from the architect through to the finished building is quite a nice one:

A couple of other impressive items included the Forge technology that takes in drone 2D photographs and converts these on the cloud to a 3D model of the building envelope and surrounding landscape and the virtual reality work from Kean Walmsley.

See for the latest on the Virtual Reality work from Kean.

Over and above the conference, it was fantastic to get a tour of the Autodesk offices in San Francisco and also the Pier 9 Autodesk 'factory' on the bay. Thanks to those who looked after me and made me so welcome over in the States.
Shanghai Tower model
3D printing - software and hardware at pier 9
Developers wanting to know more please check out...