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...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Periodic Table of BIM

One educational resource that seems to have caught the attention of the BIM community (world-wide) is the Periodic Table of BIM.
The Periodic Table of BIM
This is the work of Stefan, Richard and Robin at NBS and it's a beautifully elegant way of providing an index/table of contents into the subject matter of Building Information Modelling.

At NBS, we cover many areas of the built environment within the guidance of our specification products. For example, before specifying a lighting system an engineer may want to research the latest information on interior lighting or emergency lighting or automatic controls. Equally, an architect may want research fire, acoustic and environmental performance before specifying doors.
General guidance available within NBS Create
When providing guidance on BIM on, we wanted to have a more engaging way of leading construction professionals into this key topic than a (slightly dull) table of contents page such as:

Building Information Modelling
  1. BIM Strategy
  2. Foundations
    1. Framework
    2. Common methods
    3. Procurement route
  3. Collaboration
    1. Culture and behaviour
    2. Process etc... instead, the Periodic Table of BIM was created. An engaging way to support construction professionals through the topic of building information modelling.
The key topics around the subject of building information modelling
If you are interested - please see the dedicated area of our website:

To jump to a key topic, click the areas that interests you below...

Finally, when out and about on the road I have heard that a few people have printed the periodic table of BIM out and put it on the wall of their practice. We'd be keen to see photographs of this - if anyone wants to take part - please use the hashtag #BIMTable - I'll update this blog post if we get any pictures through ;)

- Download a PDF of this free resource - print off and stick to the wall

Friday, 10 June 2016

An introduction to NBS BIM Toolkit - Video

As part of the development of our new website we wanted to produce a set of videos that introduce some of the NBS offerings in three minutes.

The first of these was the BIM Workflow video we released in March.

The second of these was the introduction to NBS Create we released in April.

A few weeks ago in May we released our third video. This one tells the story of the BIM Toolkit highlighting the key benefits of this tool to owner/operators, the design/construction team and also construction manufacturers.

Please watch it below - Some commentary to the story is also provided below the video in this blog post.

The story behind the video again is from the point of view of the current refurbishment work that is taking place on our building in Newcastle (project led by JDDK architects).

The key objectives of BIM Level-2
The standards and tools that define BIM Level 2
Helping clients define who is doing what and when to meet their information requirements
Define information requirements and responsibilities and export to help create EIRs and BEPs
A tool for project teams to collaborate online when producing information in response to the EIR/BEP
A huge library of free-to-use classifications and LOD/LOI guidance illustrations across all sectors
Quickly reference these LOD/LOI items from an online digital plan of work
Helping manufacturers on their BIM Level-2 journey and placing their products in front of the decision makers on major projects
Populate your product data sheets using templates as a 'step one' on a BIM journey 
Support in placing this well structured data into parametric 3D objects that will be used by the largest of architectural and engineering practices
Find out more on all of the technical concepts at
A big thank you once again to our video partner Soluis - top video again - big thanks in particular to Laura for her work over the last few months.

To explore and start using BIM Toolkit please visit

Please keep an eye out on this blog and for some pretty nice BIM Toolkit enhancements coming soon too! They've been pretty well received during recent customer visits - so looking forward to them going live.

To watch the video, please check it out on our website below...

Sunday, 22 May 2016


A few photographs from Philadelphia. I managed to get a little bit of time on the last day of the AIA Convention before my flight home to do a quick early morning tour of the city.
Philadelphia Town Hall with the tallest building One Liberty Place in the background
The view from the R2 37th floor cafe
William Penn statue on the top of the town hall - build higher than him and your sports teams will be cursed
The nice and healthy traditional lunchtime snack that is the Philly Cheese Steak
Independence Hall - Where the United States Declaration of Independence was approved in 1776
The famous bell that was rung after the declaration of Independence
Food from all over the world at the Reading Terminal Market (that was under the convention centre)
Columns and carvings inside the Town Hall complex
Baseball in the shadows of the skyscrapers
The Art Museum and the famous Rocky Steps

The Water Works that used to pump water into the city via a reservoir (now where the art gallery is)
Beautiful garden at the back of the gallery
Lovely street art
Inside the pretty creepy Philadelphia East State Penitentiary
Illustration of how the % of the American population in jail has grown over the decades
Al Capone got a nicely fitted out cell for his stay
...and, of course, every shopping centre needs a huge bronze statue of an eagle