Friday, 18 December 2015

Top five blog posts of 2015

First of all a very merry Christmas to anyone who has visited my blog this year. I hope everyone has a great Christmas break and returns ready to go again in 2016.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who visit this blog!
I've now been blogging about BIM, technology and all things NBS for over six year - time flies! At the end of each year I look at the web stats to see which of my posts attracted the most web traffic. Now looking back at 2015, in reverse order the top five were...

In 5th place - BIM Management Handbook


In 5th place was a review I wrote looking at the big RIBA Publishing BIM title of the year, David Shepherd's 'BIM Management Handbook'.

It should be noted that my review of BIM for Dummies (Mordue, Swaddle and Philp) was posted slightly later in the year so just missed out on this 5th place spot. But as books are best purchased in pairs you may also want to check that excellent publication out too...

In 4th place - The NBS BIM Object Standard


In February a social media/blogging debate started asking the question whether standards were needed in terms of BIM object creation.

After observing opinion, I put my two pennies worth in arguing that by standardising terminology and promoting international, and national standards, then a greater quality of BIM object is created. We have consistent data on sites like rightmove and autotrader and this allows us to make more informed decisions - so why not for BIM?

The debate started again in September. Below is a follow up post:

In 3rd place - Ecobuild 2015 Review


In March we were fortunate enough to be chosen by UBM to curate the content for their BIM Theatre at Ecobuild. I think we put on a decent show with well over 100 delegates at each presentation.

The blog post looked back at the three days in East London at one of the construction industry's biggest annual events.

Note - watch this space for news about Ecobuild 2016!

In 2nd place - Updates to the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit

Moving from a document-way-of-working to a digital-way-of-working  has seen real efficiency and accuracy improvements where tools and content work together. The success of our NBS plug-in for Autodesk Revit demonstrates this.

The second most popular post of the year looked at the 2016 enhancements to our plug-in. Link to the specification, view NBS design guidance, check annotations, drag and drop objects into the model, synchronised guidance about the objects... As a free tool it really helps put the information into building information modelling.

Also check out, the recent post below looking at the personalisation enhancements with newly introduced 'My Library'.

In 1st place - The BIM Toolkit in ten minutes

There was also the small matter of the release of the Innovate UK funded BIM Toolkit that was developed as a free-to-use tool for those working to UK Government Level-2 BIM.

NBS led the team that worked through a six-month funding period (and beyond) to develop this. The Toolkit in ten minutes blog post gave an overview to all of the key concepts and gave pointers on where to find out more on all of these in terms of technical articles.

So whether you are an client wanting to know more about employer's information requirements, or a design manager wanting to know about LOD or a manufacturer wanting to structure your digital product information - the BIM Toolkit is a great free resource for industry.

So that's it for another year - back in 2016!

Your NBS National BIM Library

This week we released a new feature on NBS National BIM Library called My Library.

Those that have signed into the library will notice that they have a personalised homepage. There are three main areas:
  1. The objects you have 'starred' - these are potentially the objects you use most often or the objects you have flagged to download at a later date;
  2. The objects you have previously downloaded that have since been updated; and
  3. A list of all the objects you have ever downloaded.

A personalised homepage
The starred objects are presented in a data grid so the objects can be easily downloaded, sorted or filtered. The screenshot below shows that the objects have been sorted so that they are grouped by the same category.

The screenshot below shows the Downloaded tab. In this screenshot the user has filtered the list of objects to show those relevant to the search term 'sanit...'.
Your download history
The starred and downloaded objects are a filter option for when you search. In the screenshots below the user quickly filters 681 objects relevant to insulation down to just the 5 relevant items that have been starred.
New search filters
Quickly find the objects you need
The NBS National BIM Library is not just a website for a desktop computer. The user experience is also optimised for mobile or tablet. It's now easy to 'star' an item when you are on your mobile (maybe on a train or at home on an evening).

Fully responsive
Items that you have starred are accessible from whichever device you are using. For example, you could star an item on your mobile and then access this from the webbrowser on your desktop the next day. Another workflow example could be if you are using the NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit. The screenshots below show the National BIM Library website being accessed from inside the design tool. Your favourite objects can be found quickly and then added to your model through simply dragging and dropping.
Welcome screen in our plug-in
Accessing your frequently used objects
Dragging and dropping straight into your design
For more information please see:

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The new NBS website

Our new NBS website is now live at the beta web address 

The home page is clean, crisp, easy to navigate and is designed for web and mobile. The overall design and use of the new NBS brand hopefully adds to a great user experience.
Our new website
There are three main sections to the website Services, Knowledge and Support. Within the Services section you can quickly find the right NBS products and tools for your practice. Whether you work in the architecture or engineering - whether you work on small or large projects.
NBS products and tools that can benefit you
The Knowledge area has a wide range of interesting articles. Each article is tagged by the relevant topics and also the author. By clicking on the topic or the author you can discover more articles of a similar nature.
A wide range of interesting articles in the Knowledge section
The third main area of the site is the Support area. If you are an NBS user (or want to browse the support that NBS users are provided with) you can look through the online help articles and videos - equally you can find out about training options and also engaging in our customer panels.
Get the most out of our services in the Support section
One final mention is the new 'My NBS' area of the site. If you have an NBS Account (from using NBS Create or NBS Domestic or National BIM Library or BIM Toolkit...) then you simply sign into the site and you can save useful articles, look at your history or tailor your experience and notifications based on your interests.
The new 'My NBS' section of the website
So please spend a little bit of time looking through the website and any feedback you send through our 'BETA bar' is most appreciated: 

Friday, 4 December 2015

NBS - In partnership with The Baltic

It was great to see the news in the press last week about the NBS partnership with The Baltic.
NBS and The Baltic
Richard Waterhouse, our CEO, commented, "NBS is delighted to be involved with BALTIC as part of its commitment to playing a key role in the economy and community of NewcastleGateshead and the wider north-east region. We have ambitious plans for growth both in the UK and overseas, but Newcastle will remain our home as part of the digital construction hub that is developing rapidly in this area. We look forward to working with our partners at BALTIC with whom we share much common ground in our interests in art and architecture."

As part of the partnership we will be supporting the Art and Architecture event in Spring 2016 that will bring together architecture, construction professionals and innovators.

Some photographs from me below...
Originally a Flour Mill - Now an international center for contemporary art
Fantastic to see our new NBS Logo on the side of the building
Exhibitions and conferences in partnership with NBS
A metaphysical adventure story and a fantasy caricature
Consider the effects of small, miniature, big, gigantic, the scaled up and scaled down, detail and overview