BIM Show Live lays down gauntlet for digital construction

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Delegates challenged to open their minds to new ways of working and build a better future for the construction industry

We’re ready for a “construction revolution” creating opportunities for young people to gain new skills and develop new capabilities, explained Simon Rawlinson, Arcadis, as he opened proceedings at BIM Show Live in Newcastle last week. With improved productivity this is achievable, he explained. “You all have a responsibility to make this happen, we can all do better and we must challenge ourselves.”

This statement rang true throughout out the next two days as people laid down challenges for others to open their minds to new ways of working and build a better future for the construction industry.

BIM Show Live – as much as BIM is at the heart of the AEC industry – has grown beyond BIM in the traditional sense and explores a greater expanse of digital construction methodologies, technologies and design.

The event’s co-founder Rob Charlton said that in the eight years the show had been running adoption of digital construction has accelerated, but we have also become very good at criticising our sector. “The skills shortage will continue to grow and the impact of Brexit is likely to mean we lose some experience from the sector,” he said, before focusing on the many positives.

“Projects such as Crossrail, Kings Cross or pretty much any major development in London demonstrates the impact we have on society. The future will see us move from BIM to twin with the increase in adoption of the digital twin where relationships and interactions between people, places, and devices can be applied to any physical environment.”

Professor James Woudhuysen told delegates to forget what we are used to and be open to new ideas. That innovation doesn’t just come from the super-brains in our industry, and we need to look at the “B” in BIM rather than focusing on the “I”. The time of the building is now, he said, and it’s what we do with the information that counts as much as how we acquire and process it.

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This sentiment was echoed by James Austin of Autodesk, whose insightful delivery of where the industry is now, where it has arrived from and where it is headed captivated the audience. “To stand still would be catastrophic,” he said. “Yes, we are in a good place right now, but we need to strive for continual improvement and continue to look for innovation in new places, not just what we are used to. Evolution is the enhancement of the next generation of construction.”

Adam Ward of BIM Technologies discussed the need to industrialise construction and take the lead from Design for Manufacture Assembly (DFMA). The most attended seminar, an exploration of the new ISO 19650 standard, was delivered by one of the standard’s authors Paul Shillcock, accompanied by Emma Hooper and Andy Boutle of the UK BIM Alliance. ISO 19650 was explored further in an all-female panel debate on how the new standard is impacting on the various networks within the supply chain.

Industry giant Jay Zallan cognitively challenged the audience with his exploration of the opportunities and implications of connected technologies on the construction ecosystem. “In just a small number of years we have advanced so much technologically it is astounding, but we sometimes need to think for ourselves and not rely on technology to provide the answers,” he said. “We need to drive the technology and not let the technology drive us!”.

 

 

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