Thursday, 14 April 2016

NBS National BIM Report 2016

Way back in 2011, when the UK Government's BIM strategy was just starting to be communicated, we decided to do a BIM survey and analyse the findings. Five years later in 2016, we are proud to have just published our sixth report. Looking through all six tells the story of the journey the UK has been through so far.

This blog post contrasts some of the 2016 results with the 2011 results to see some big changes in the industry.
Five years - a long time in BIM
BIM awareness from almost half of the industry never having heard of it being the hot topic in the industry
The primary tool for drawings and schedules production - the fall of AutoCAD - the rise of Revit, ArchiCAD and Vectorworks
(click for bigger picture)
In terms of key charts from the 2016 survey - it is slightly disappointing to see relatively low figures in terms of the use of the BIM Level-2 standards. However, it is expected that these figures will now have an upwards trend in future years.
Will one in three organisations be using PAS 1192-2 this time next year?
One fantastic chart to look at was the one below which shows that two out of three construction professionals is likely to look to NBS for information about BIM. As expected, another big source of information are colleagues and contacts at other organisations.
NBS - A trusted source of information on BIM
As with previous years, in addition to the findings, there are plenty of fascinating and informative articles and comment pieces within the report. Working with Adrian who puts this report together, I source this content through bumping into some really knowledgeable people when out and about with work. Two or three of these are pictured below...
The BIM Task Group's Adam Matthews discusses the EU BIM Task Group
Andrew Moulds from Mott MacDonald discusses the challenges in creating a BIM library
(and the NBS BIM object standard)
...and an article from Stefan Mordue NBS, explaining BIM through the Periodic Table of BIM
So - another super report this year - click below to go to the NBS website and download for free...

...and if you want to read the 2011 one that's there too.

Friday, 8 April 2016

An introduction to NBS Create

As part of the development of our new website we wanted to produce a video that introduces the NBS Create specification system in three minutes. This comes hot on the heels of the NBS BIM workflow video I blogged about in March.

This video may now be viewed below:

As with the previous BIM video, again this video introduces the product through telling the story of our own building project and uses NBS colleagues within the movie.
At NBS, our technical authors work together to ensure the quality and structure of the NBS content
This content is then used by thousands of constructional professionals on thousands of projects across the UK
The structure of this content allows for innovative functionality where specifications can be developed from outline to full throughout the project timeline - functionality also connects the specification to relevant standards and manufacturers
The video moves through our new office building looking at specifications from the different disciplines
Where each member of the project team subscribes, the final documentation is consistent across all disciplines
Project teams can strengthen the NBS Create system by capturing their office knowledge within it
The specification must be coordinated with the drawings and schedules - the connectivity within a BIM environment give big efficiency benefits here
...and the video ends as it started with a focus on the NBS people - in this case the support that is provided to customers as part of their subscription
To find out more about NBS Create - please see:

Thanks to chartered architects JDDK who have led the building project and are pictured in the video

Thanks also (again) to Soluis who partnered with us to produce the video.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Construction News Awards - Twenty years old

This years Construction News Awards is the 20th celebrating the best in UK construction.

As NBS has been short-listed for the BIM Excellence award and was kindly sent a birthday cake by Construction News.
A celebration cake through the post
Construction News also put down the challenge to illustrate changes in the last 20 years at your organisation...
20 years of Construction News
Lots has changed at NBS since 1996. We were digital of course back in 1996 (well at least at the start of our digital journey with floppy disks etc...). But it's fair to say that our digital journey has been pretty significant over that time period...
How NBS has changed since the first CN Awards in 1996
I hadn't quite joined NBS in 1996, I do have happy memories of this though.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Official UK BIM Level-2 Website Live

Developed by BSI for BIS
In the May 2011 UK Government Construction Strategy it was stated that 'Government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016. '
Five years on - the official BIM Level-2 web hub has now been launched. It is introduced as follows:
'Welcome to the new BIM Level 2 website where you will find the best practice standards developed to help Government and the construction industry achieve value and efficiencies throughout construction projects, from initial briefing to handover.'
The website is a mixture of live content and content that is coming soon...

Currently live:

Coming soon:
Greyed out hyperlinks give an indication to the pages that are being worked on:

  • Guidance - guidance pages for those working in the UK and international visitors wanting to know more about the UK's approach. This area of the site will cover more on the background, the processes and tools, operational and capital delivery and data management.
  • Tools - (presumably) tools that will help users work to BIM Level 2
  • Events, Glossary of terms, FAQS and the ability to feedback

So - great to see a single portal to detail exactly what UK BIM Level-2 is all about. One for the Internet bookmarks...

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Think BIM - Spring Conference 2016

I had the pleasure of chairing the half-day Spring Think BIM Conference in Leeds. As always it was a top event mixing great speakers with interactive round tables for discussion.

The first speaker was the UK BIM Task Group’s Dave Philp who gave an update on the activity delivering against the UK Government’s Strategy. Dave was actually overseas in Australia, so through the power of technology he presented over the web. Dave looked back at the last five years and the level-2 BIM journey developing the standard, tools and guidance.
Phil on Skype live from Perth, Australia
For Dave’s most recent presentation on this please see:

Next up was James Austin who was one of the original participants in the very first Think BIM in 2011. James who was an architect at the time at Space Group but has since joined Autodesk reflected back on this UK journey. Some photographs from his slide deck are below…
James looks back five years ago
Key milestones in the UK Level-2 BIM journey 
I'd strongly recommend having a flick through this presentation - so much good stuff from the last five years - this will be available soon on the Think BIM website:

For my own look back at five years of Think BIM - check out all of my blog posts with this tag...

The final speaker before the roundtable discussions was Adam Matthews who is the chair of the recently formed EU BIM Task Group. Adam talked about the two year programme to provide consistent guidance and a minimum level of performance across publicly funded construction work with respect to digital process and deliverables.

Where construction and built asset management is funded through tax payers money then there is a responsibility to increase productivity and get better value for the spend. Across the world, BIM is considered to be an enabler to do this – this initiative has the potential to put Europe and the UK into a position of world leadership.
Adam looks at productivity across industries and considers digital
The EU BIM Task Group -
The CEN/TC 442 structure defining BIM standards across Europe - Picture left of NBS R Waterhouse
The first roundtable I attended was delivered by Adrian Malleson from NBS. Adrian was exploring the topic of persistent digital object identifiers (DOI) for physical products. This is an Innovate UK research project that involved NBS, BSI and the Construction Products Association.

The sort of opportunities explored here included (a) if each type of product in a built asset and a fixed identifier that linked to information about that product  that would be persistent over time, would this be of value in FM? and (b) what would the scope of the parameters be that could be stored against this identifier so that information about this product could be easily accessible either at the design, construction or operation stage of the project.

How could a concept such as this fit into a data structure such as COBie or IFC (or a proprietary FM format)? In the case of COBie, the object class would be determined by the classification (Category field), the location of the object would be determined by the instance relationship to parent space/location, then floor and then building/entity. The DOI would be an attribute of the object that would resolve to a hyperlink that gave persistent additional information regarding that type of object held on the web.
The simple flow of information between manufacturers and those that need this data
The second roundtable I attended was chaired by the manufacturer Bosch. They talked about their BIM journey and the challenges faced when determining how much geometric detail to model in a manufacturer object, how much information to put into the object and how much should be on the web and also what information standards should be followed.

All interesting subjects – particularly important if information from manufacturers is to be provided to the industry in a standardised format. At NBS we have spent a lot of time looking into standardising BIM object information and more can be found on this subject below:

The conference concluded with a review of the roundtable discussions and then a final Q+A. The Q+A included the question about dominance of software providers and how competition around open standards was good for the industry. There was also discussion around whether organisations were willing to share their native models or whether they’d only share IFC and other fixed data formats to protect IPR. The feeling was that sharing is good for the industry.

So all in all – a really good day. As usual Think BIM was a super event – I look forward to the next one in the Summer.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Review of Ecobuild 2016

Our NBS digital team have pulled together a super mini-site that looks back at Ecobuild 2016 and in particular the activities on the NBS curated Digital Building Hub.
Ecobuild Review Site

There are full review pages of each of the three days:

Day one
A look back at presentations by David Miller Architects, Assa Abloy, the BIM Task Group and Ian Chapman.

Day two
A look back at presentations by Ideal Standard, BDP, myself, Dave Philp and BRE.

Day three
Richard Waterhouse, Wavin and BSI all presented at the hub

Standing room only for the majority of presentations
...and finally, all of the slides from each of the presentations can be downloaded:

For those of you that attended - hopefully you enjoyed what was available at the Digital Building Hub. Until next year...
Team NBS at ecobuild 2016

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

How NBS fits into your BIM workflow

As part of the launch of our new brand and our new website - we now have a dedicated place on our website explaining how NBS products and services can support you within your BIM workflow.

As part of this, we have just produced a three minute video as a short introduction.

What I think is particularly nice about this video is that the story is told from our own building project that is currently under way. This is a genuine model of our building. The content and software examples are genuine. Some stills from the video are explained below.
At an early stage, client information requirements can be defined in the NBS BIM Toolkit
Generic objects from the National BIM Library can help generate concept designs
Specifications can be started early and then developed through the timeline using NBS Create
Relevant standards and regulations are linked to BIM objects and specifications within the Construction Information Service
Product specifications from over 650 manufacturers may be added using NBS Plus
The NBS Plug-in for Autodesk Revit synchronises the model and the specification
Information is developed through the project timeline
The connectivity between the solutions is what makes them so effective
To find out more about our BIM solutions - please see:

Thanks to chartered architects JDDK who have led the building project

Thanks also (again) to Soluis who partnered with us to produce our third engaging BIM video (previous 1, previous 2).

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Using NBS on BIM projects - Case studies

At a recent NBS BIM event in Birmingham we asked a number of organisations that have adopted BIM to talk about their experiences.

It was fantastic to see the odd slide that showed NBS being used on these projects.

I did a write up for our RIBA Insight website below:

Some screenshots from this article below:
Associated Architects using the BIM Toolkit LOD guidance on a project
Associated Architects using the National BIM Library content linked to an NBS specification on a project

James and Ward Ltd making the point that manufacturers should be making BIM objects available
Assa Abloy presenting how they have worked with NBS to deliver against their BIM strategy
It's great to see screen grabs of our content and tools being used on BIM projects. If anyone out there wants to send any in for inclusion in a blog post please get in touch.

Read the full article