The digital construction week held in October at the Business Design Centre in London saw many speakers from across the world gather to provide their thoughts on the development of digital processes and the impact of (BIM) Business Information Modeling in construction.
Government projects are now requesting a BIM capability throughout its supply chain down to the SME and single supply providers.
The exhibition and conference allowed guest speakers to address many interested parties in all 4 of the themed theatres to explain the impact of digital information, BIM modeling and the changes and impacts and long term with high value complex engineering projects taking centre stage.
“Battersea Power Station ‘s presentation by Skanska was particularly interesting, not from the ‘building perspective’ but from the logistical planning using BIM to determine the accessibility throughout the project and modelling in 3D brought the project from concept to reality.”
Simon Lamb, MD Makers
Many of the exhibitors were providing insights into particular software packages that would enable integration with other main contractor platforms. The issue of design collaboration and intellectual property rights seemed to be at the heart of many conversations as BIM success depends on the sharing and storing of information.
“The fundamental success of BIM relies on the largest supplier to the construction sector the ‘SME’ being able to look at that investment and seeing a return. Until procurement methods change and SME’s brought into the project far earlier with the opportunity of repeat business, most will not adopt the process or be capable of providing the required information….Whilst main contractors may bemoan the lack of SME support perhaps first they should look at how they engage with their supply chain and offer longer term fairer contract incentives that would encourage investment.”
Simon Lamb, MD Makers
We saw many similarities between the approach of Barton Malow in their approach to the refurbishment of the Indy 500 racetrack and Makers approach to contracting. The cross fertilisation of ideas and skillsets between young an old with the adoption of electronic information and data storing has allowed that vital exchange of knowledge, skill and expertise between parts of the workforce where it is second nature.
Our apprentice scheme embodies this whole approach matching skillsets, experience and ability to provide a stronger team across all levels for the project.
Whilst it is inevitable that construction will move through the digital age, it will still be reliant of the guy at the end of the process being able to interpret the information that designers, engineers and architects provide. We should not lose sight that why it may improve design outcomes, allow us to plan more complex projects the information must remain up to date, precise, clear and the have build ability, too often the actual abilities to understand what is possible is often overlooked.
In the refurbishment sector too often we are presented with details and drawings expertly designed on paper only to have little or no resemblance to what is actually constructed on site. BIM will slowly trickle down but will fail at some point in the future, but will be remodeling into something else. If BIM is to be the saviour of construction industry, the we need to start designing robots to do the construction and take the ‘Builder’ out of ‘Building’.