ICE BIM 2011

Well it is the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Building Information Modelling (BIM) Conference today and whilst I really wanted to go it was not possible so I am trying to follow it online and on twitter using the #ICEBIM hashtag via my @Noynek twitter account.  It is good to see that there are people tweeting live – particularly the organisers @ice_bim.  The website for the conference is where the programme of talks can be found.  I’d be interested to see a delegate list tbh and hope to see one eventually.

Anyway.  I thought I would jot a few notes and thoughts down and maybe even tweet this blog to those at the event to see what might be said.  I should add that all views in this blog and on my wordpress site are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and have been in the industry on the contracting side for over 20 years in varying roles including site management, design management and most lately in work winning (tender) planning.  I work for one of the major construction contractors and have been involved with bidding for some major projects over the years and latterly for some of the Crossrail and Thameslink projects.

I have been aware about BIM in various guises for many years and am sold on it as a principle and an aspiration and certainly from my perspective as a planner I can definitely see huge benefits of the single model that can be used to assist with the planning of the construction work.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in BIM but I am sure the technology is there now to at least start adopting BIM and I’m sure there are pathfinders in this who are using it and doing it well.  From my perspective though I see a long way to go.

My biggest bugbear is the disconnect that currently exists when projects are competitively tendered and I accept that a big part of the overall BIM strategy is a complete change in attitude and process to remove the current obstacles.

A current tender scenario as many will know is to receive many hundreds if not thousands of electronic documents in forms that are not easily useable.  Drawings for example are in pdf and rarely provided in raw cad format.  We always ask for raw files but in the majority of cases these requests are denied.  Invariably we have to redraw or reverse engineer pdfs to get base drawings to assist with quantification or planning and then if we desire a 3D model for visualisation or planning purposes we have to produce it from scratch from sketchy information.

If BIM is being taken seriously then why – at the very least – are drawings not provided in raw format?  If a 3D model exists – then why can it not be provided?  This data can be provided as-is as site information with no contractural standing so why not provide it?

I suspect the principle reason is the fear of come-back if things are not absolutely perfect and not entirely correct.  This is completely contrary to partnering and team working principles and is a mindset that has to be overcome for BIM to work.  Real sharing has to go on – not superficial sharing.

So my main question is what is the anticipated and expected lifecycle of project fully using BIM through concept, design, construction and maintenance is and I do hope that the conference addresses that (I’m sure it will) and that I get to hear about it.

I’m sure many with recognise the current situation and those nearer the cutting edge of BIM will be able to confirm that things are further on with BIM than they appear.  Interested to find out.

That’s it for now.  I hope to update this as the day goes on.  I’m following on and trying to keep up whilst also continuing with the day job and with half an eye on developments at Dale Farm.

Okay. So a wee update.  A number of tweets from the room suggested that more than half the delegates have not read the UKG BIM report so thought I’d better refresh my memory as to whether I had.  Pleased to confirm having looked at it again (assuming I’m looking at the right one) that I do remember looking at it at the time.  Link to document here.

Another small update.  I continue to follow the tweets escaping from OGGS and whilst it is difficult to get a feel for the talking going on as it is like peering through the keyhole, I can’t help feeling it is very much big picture inspirational stuff and glossing over the smaller scale fundamental barriers.  I accept that a conference like this has to focus on the big picture but people mustn’t lose sight of the smaller scale and how it is actually made to work and culture and process changes needed to make it work.

And another last update.  I wonder how much any f the delegates have actually learned at todays conference.  Don’t get me wrong – I am not knocking the conference and really wish Id been able to go – but I wonder if the majority of the delegates have heard it all before?  How brilliant it is, how much savings it can generate and how great it is for the finished product but did anyone talk about and really learn anything about how to effectively do it in practice.  It is the how we need to concentrate on on – not the what.

2 Replies to “ICE BIM 2011”

  1. It will be interesting to see the results of the conference – it seems like all the major players are there. Look forward to updates!

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