Recent months have seen a plethora of forums and conferences about this year's numero uno hot potato, namely, BIM. I've attended a number of these sessions and, whilst the networking is always useful, the content has varied tremendously. So many meetings still focus on the big picture of BIM, almost selling the idea that BIM is the future and we all need to get on board. I think, for most firms, they've already made that leap. They kind of get it already, that we can all do better in terms of delivering more efficient projects and harnessing the latest technology to make it happen.
The question now is, how exactly do we, as individual firms and collectively an industry, sally forth and turn all the rhetoric into BIM-reality? If you speak to the marketing teams of many UK design & engineering firms, the story is that BIM is altogether sorted, that they are 100% BIM proficient and can deliver projects in any technology, at any time, with maximum efficiency, no fuss and zero downtime! :) Talk to the operations teams, who are tasked with actually making this all happen, and the story isn't quite the same. And this is in no way a criticism of these hard-working people. Quite the opposite. But, ironically, when firms speak openly about this stuff, the reality is that they are all wrestling with the same challenges!
To this end, we've been working with a group of connected people this year, to put together a programme of round table meetings, whose sole aim is to provide detailed answers to some key questions about BIM - at a practical level. The nice thing about this initiative is that no-one is forcing an agenda onto the proceedings. Whilst we all have a vested interest in the UK Construction industry picking itself up off the floor, the rest is all about using whatever connections or influence we may have individually, and pooling our resources to bring together the right people, at the same time, to figure out some new answers to these questions.
This Thursday in London, we have the first UK BIM Roundtable. All being well, we anticipate that this could develop into a regular series of half-yearly, or even quarterly, forums, each addressing a different area of BIM.
The first meeting focuses on the dynamics of the relationship between Architects and Engineers and General Contractors. Discussion will be based around the following topics:
• What are the needs and requirements of consultants and what are the needs and requirements of contractors, when undertaking a BIM project?
• How can we negate conflicts occurring at the interface of a design-based BIM as it undergoes the transition to the construction phase?
• Getting BIM deliverables in sync throughout the project; exploring commonly accepted workflows and identifying the requirements of each discipline.
The meeting is by invitation and all 30 available places were filled very quickly. The following firms will have representation at the session;
Consultants: AECOM, WSP, Buro Happold, Halcrow, Hoare Lea, Capita Architecture, Zaha Hadid, Atkins, Levitt Bernstein, Foster + Partners, Davis Langdon, Waterman, IBI Nightingale, HOK, Tribal, Jacobs, Ramboll UK, Scott Wilson, BDP.
Contractors: Skanska, TPS Carillion, Carillion, Bovis Lend Lease, Mace, Laing O'Rourke, Costain, BAM, Vinci, Robert McAlpine, plus UKCG.
We also anticipate having people from TfL, Crossrail and BIS in attendance.
This is designed to be an interactive discussion forum. There will be an agenda and specific objectives for the session, steered by co-chairs representing both groups, but the rest is up to the delegates. We have no commercial sponsors, nor formal presentations from pre-arranged speakers. The minutes of the roundtable will be documented and issued in the form of a short report following the meeting. Thanks to Buro Happold for providing the venue for this meeting.