Tuesday, 25 September 2012

BIM Summit Qatar - Day Four

The conference started today with Mott Macdonald's Derek Murray chairing. Derek's introduced two case studies from the UK of really complex projects where BIM was being used to demonstrate real day-to-day gains. The first was from Mott Macdonald with Andy Smith and Rob Dickson really giving the inside story on the London Victoria Underground Station project. One thing they stressed as being of critical importance was the importance of a strong BIM execution plan. The picture below summarises what is in a typical MM plan...
Fig 1 - What is covered in the BIM Execution Plan
The slide below shows the size of the task in keeping the stakeholders happy on a project. As the construction is beneath existing buildings - there is a lot that needs done to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Fig 2 - Don't disrupt the Victoria Palace Theatre where Billy Elliott plays each evening!
One interesting concept that was discussed was the "Corridor of BIM potential". This was a number of tasks that had to be agreed at the start. The complexity grew with the further along the "Corridor of BIM potential" you walked. The first item was 3D CAD and then it developed through to delivering a digital model to manage the asset.

Nigel Clark from Hilson Moran was next up. This case study was 20 Fenchurch Street which had been designed to be BREEAM Excellent and to significantly exceed the UK Building Codes and Regulations. Some great slides below - also very interesting to hear it reinforced that BIM in the UK is not just about the UK Gov Strategy, the private big private clients are now insisting on BIM - Great Portland Estates, Land Securities and Canary Wharf Group.
Fig 3 - I love seeing the original pen-and-paper sketch design alongside the detail design
Fig 4 - Some of the engineering to maintain this roof top garden was extremely impressive
Fig 5 - BIM = a single model - not in the real world it ain't - federated models
The day wasn't all a promotion of UK excellence. There were also some case studies from the Middle East. Dar Al Riyadh from Saudi were involved in some particularly impressive projects. There were plenty of beautiful tall buildings - but the screenshot below is of interest for a different reason. Classed as a "MEGAPROJECT" - it appears to be worthy of the name with 500,000 housing units being built from BIM designs. When building on that scale a tiny percentage saving is clearly multiplied to be huge.
Fig 6 - Mega Projects - Middle East Style
After the break then the design consultants were invited up on stage to take questions from the floor. There was a lot of discussion about what status the BIM holds contractually and again the importance of BIM execution plans were reinforced. One bit of advice handed to the Qatar delegates was that if a Government mandated BIM, it is not a simple task of writing a document and then walking away. It needs the full strategy executed. And not least of these is the communication of the strategy and the sharing of knowledge and resources. Again, everyone from the UK spoke extremely highly about the UK BIM movement.
Fig 7 - Expert panel discuss
I had the job of presenting to conclude the speakers' section of the conference. As this blog post is going on a bit I'll not say much about my message (I'll cover this in a separate article). But the general message was that where BIM is currently delivering is (a) drawing production, (b) visualisation and (c) eliminating clashes - where it needs to now deliver is in well-structured information behind the objects. Localised standard generic objects with corresponding manufacturer objects that can help the information part of BIM really fly.
"Make it quick Hamil, lunch is in 20 minutes"
Throughout these sessions credit must be given to Mott Macdonald's Derek Murray who did a great job with excellent commentary, good time keeping and humour. He summarised the conference well with two quotes from yesterday:
"Play well together and enjoy the new team sport that is BIM"

And finally...
Derek also introduced himself to me by commenting on my 1000th tweet blog post on the seven slides to include in every BIM presentation. He had carefully scored up the presentations in terms of the ones that managed to squash the slides in. You can see from the pic below that there was a loss of count for "BIM Models" on day one and then the magenta clash detection slides and confusing ROI chart tied for first place with six presentations each. I feel that BIM Bingo Infographic PDFs need to be produced for future conferences.
BIM Bingo with @DerekMurray1975

Contract clauses in the olden days

Here is a genuine construction contract clause from the olden days.

From presentation given at the BIM Summit Qatar that I attended.

I'd say there is quite a strong incentive to over-engineer the design to ensure that the risk documented below is fully managed!
One way of ensuring design quality

Monday, 24 September 2012

BIM Summit Qatar - Day Three

I’ve been to a few BIM conferences over the last few years, but this was arguably the best line up to date.
View from above
Tahir Sharif President of buildingSMART Middle East chaired the day and introduced Dana Kennish “Deke” Smith who is Exec Director of the Building Seismic Safety Council. Dana is one of the main guys behind the United States National BIM Standards through the NIBS organisation. He talked with a lot of experience of managing buildings – he has been in charge of 570,000 facilities in his time. Some interesting points below:
  • They hit a point in time when they had all the data from their buildings in a wall full of 9 track tapes and a computer system that became obsolete. This was the point where Dana said he recognised that data for his facilities needed to be in an open source digital format that would be future proof. Ideally stored/backed up in the cloud.
  • A nice quote “BIM is a team sport – you have to rely on others to be successful”
  • He believes that the biggest improvement buildingSMART can do is to certify the IFC import/export from the main CAD vendors to ensure quality.
  • The next “big step” has to be the standardisation of more detailed product libraries. The buildingSMART international DataDictionary.
As chair Tahir quoted an interesting stat that from their recent survey that 40% of the industry in the Middle East “want to use BIM, but don’t know where to start”. buildingSMART are across Middle East, India and Africa and are opening regional areas this year in India, Qatar, Saudi and Egypt.

Throughout the day there was a consistent theme that the UK was now one of those leading the world on approach to BIM. It was timely that the UK’s own Lee Zebedee from Ramboll was next up.
  • Lee commented that those saying they were doing level-3 BIM were not. But there are some doing level-2. A nice case study was Birmingham City University where the architectural, services and structural models came together to produce a single model for the construction team to use. Open data in the form of COBie could be generated from this single model.
  • All of the UK Government Strategy stuff was presented really well to an attentive audience. The social media and the communication side of this was rightfully given a big mention too – I thought this was a nice touch as this sort of thing is often overlooked. @BIMHubs and also @ThePhilpster were given as examples of not just putting down a document and leaving people to it.
  • There was a cry for help to the software vendors to improve their ability to export information to an open data format. Having the VP of Autodesk 5 yards away was nice. Lee’s slide showing the first UK trial project was “warts and all” – 500,000 rows of data (are they all really needed by the owner?) and 40% manual entry needed due to technology limitations.
  • Finally, there were some good examples of private clients that were demanding BIM now from the UK retail sector – “it makes financial sense”.
COBie in the UK
COBie trial 
Can the big UK circle overtake the Finnish circle?
I then had the pleasure of listening to Phil Bernstein, Vice President of Autodesk. I’d heard he was a great speaker and he didn’t disappoint. I also got a chance to ask a question in the Q&A. Some bullets below:
  • When asked about interoperability with other software the response was “we have to play nicely” - “not one company is ever going to control the whole process”.
  • The panel discussion prior to his presentation was all about the “owner being the most important”. I think Phil’s opinion here was to agree, but to remind the delegates that the vast amount of BIM software sold across the world is currently to designers – so let’s not run before we can jump.
  • He did warn designers on when they pitch to owners. “Do not say ‘We have some really cool tools - can we use them on your project please’. But do say ‘I can save you x on the operation of your asset and on sustainability issues – it’s about outcomes, outcomes, outcomes”.
  • I had my chance to ask my question, the best I could come up with was:
    SJH – “We heard earlier than owners need stability in file formats when they manage thousands of facilities over many years, how can this be squared with innovation in the development of tools such as Revit where the file format changes each year?”
    [maybe not word for word quote but…] PB – “When it comes to software tools for owners we have had five failures, I really do not want to work on a sixth. But when owners agree what they want and what standards they agree on then all of the software vendors will be scrambling to deliver the software to meet their needs. But I don’t think they know what they want yet.”

Phil’s presentation then covered five areas:
  1. What exactly is BIM?
  2. What does BIM mean for…?
  3. Why is BIM important?
  4. Where is BIM going?
  5. Implication for the Middle East?
The “where is BIM going” part was particularly interesting. Six predictions:
  1. Modelling and simulation – do a design, analyse, simulate, refine and iterate – rapidly get the best answer
  2. Cloud – we are rapidly coming to a situation where you can affordably have infinite processing power and infinite storage – exciting times
  3. Mobile – No longer stuck on a PC only (interestingly Phil presented off an Apple Mac using an interactive visual tree view).
  4. Social Media – the way we share and communicate has changed forever
  5. Analog to Digital – laser scanning takes the physical and makes it digital
  6. Digital to Analog – fabrication takes the digital and makes it physical
Phil from Autodesk's six big technology predictions for construction
Phil’s concluding comments were inspirational. [again, maybe not exact phrasing but] “The Middle East now has a huge opportunity. But please do not repeat the mistakes we have made with construction in the western world. We miss our schedules. We go over budget. We put too much carbon into the atmosphere. You have an incredible opportunity here in Qatar with your infrastructure, your museums and the World Cup – by using really modern technological techniques you guys can build a truly modern construction industry.”

Heikki Kulusjarvi the Chief Executive of Solibri was next up. Finland is a smaller country than the UK, but they made their moves with BIM first:
  • In 2007 the government mandated BIM (IFC) for architecture
  • In 2009 for services and structure.
  • In 2012 the big private client bodies came on board too
  • Use open standards, say exactly what format you want and then digitally check this.
  • All of the documentation is online in English too:
Heikki and an upside down house
The second half of the day had a number of case studies and technology promotions. One item of note from the Gehry Technologies/Dassault Systems guys. Gehry Technologies are often credited with digitalising and making possible some of the most inspirational designs. When most speakers compare BIM with other industries cars and aeroplane design and construction are used. Well for this session a comparison with “Iceberg Farming”. Hmmm….

Sunday, 23 September 2012

BIM Summit Qatar - Day Two

Day travelling out of the way. Today was a pretty relaxed day getting used to things.
Too hot during the day - view from hotel - wouldn't like to be one of the guys on site
My time is better spent in an air conditioned hotel playing around with COBie data
Night time and a walk along the sea front - starting by going past the Museum of Islamic Art
Beautiful by the sea front - love the way this temple was lit up with palm trees in front
All along the Corniche bay were brightly lit up dhows - ready to haggle a price across the bay
Not sure whether this was artwork or a road safety campaign message to the drivers on the roads?
I think the giant rabbit is what FIFA said was the reason that Qatar got the footy ahead of England
The Qatar National Bank Tower under construction - it will be the tallest in Doha at 525m
The current star-of-the-skyline is the Doha High Rise Office Tower by Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Constantly changing colour from white to yellow to orange to red and then to black

Guide to Public Speaking

Fun post for a Sunday morning. The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker's two minute guide to public speaking.

Pretty much safe for work - and very, very funny...

1. Don't fall over
2. No swearing
3. Don't point
4. Don't sweat, ever.
5. Maitain sustained eye contact - but don't go creepy with it...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

BIM Summit Qatar - Day One

I am travelling out to the Middle East today as a speaker at the BIM Summit Qatar. This event is organised in association with buildingSMART Middle East, BIM Journal and IQPC.

Looking at the list of speakers it is fantastic to see a good representation from the UK. I think this goes to show that internationally now the UK is being looked at as one of the leaders in BIM adoption and digital construction.

Speakers from the UK include Lee Zebedee (@leezebedee) from Ramboll and also Nigel Clark from Hilson Moran.
Lee Zebedee - Ramboll
Nigel Clark - Hilson Moran
Of the international speakers it is difficult to pick just one or two to highlight. But if pushed, I must say I am looking forward to the presentations from the following:
Tahir Sharif - President of buildingSMART Middle East
Heikki Kulusjarvi - Chief Exec of Solibri
Phil Bernstein - Vice President Autodesk
Tom Dengenis - Chief Exec Synchro
 I'll update this blog each day with a little post of my thoughts and also some pictures.

Update: A couple of pics from Dubai Airport...
Nice big garden - full size trees and pond... but inside
Love this tennis picture of Federer and Agassi on the helipad 205 metres up

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Some holiday pictures from Rome below. Click on an image to go see 'em larger...
The Pantheon - Not only did Emperor Hadrian build a wall that ended in my home town of Wallsend,
he also built this temple. Absolutely stunning.
The circular window at the top of the Pantheon's dome allows sunlight to shine in.
Quite stunning how it lit a doorway high up on one wall.
Most of the temples are no more. Some of the columns just stand there in little
openings that appear in the narrow streets
Fountain of the Four Rivers in the centre of the Piazza Navona,
the Piazza has the shape of the Stadium of Domitian where chariot races took place
This was the Temple of Hadrian, converted into a palace for a pope, then
more recently converted into a bank
One of the stunning rooms in the Vatican museum
They don't make ceilings like this any more - every twist and turn in the Vatican museum
was amazing
Thirsty work walking around Rome - glass of Pinot Grigio at a cheeky little
wine bar at the top of the Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain - throw that coin over your shoulder!
Circo Massimo - what was Ancient Rome's largest ever chariot racing stadium,
150,000 spectators could watch. Ben Hur
The Colosseum - it is reported that to celebrate a great victory in 107AD they had 123
consecutive days of entertainment. 11,000 wild animals and 10,000 gladiators died. 
1,700 year old bronze door to the Temple of Romulus it still opens on the original hinges.
The purple columns are crafted from the stone Porphyry. This stone is so rare it is only found in
one quarry 1,600m up a remote mountain in Egypt. Only the Romans had the resources (large numbers of slaves)
to mine it.
Colosseum pictured from the Palatino hill