coBuilder at Digital Construction Week – a collection of thoughts
If you ever wondered who are the big players in the UK BIM movement you can be sure that they can be found at events such as the Digital Construction Week, which took place at the Business Design Center in London, 20-22th October 2015. Design, construction management and construction data software vendors, BIM object libraries as well as forward-looking contractors – all of them were at the heart of the action at Digital Construction Week 2015. Exploring what ‘digital’ means for the AEC industry, the event brought together the finest bunch of strong believers that BIM and digital technologies are the way forward.
Meeting the other geeks
Of course the usual BIM suspects were not the only attendees. A lot of people involved in GIS, surveying, and even in robotics, virtual reality environments were also partaking in promoting their innovative digital solutions. So when the exhibitors were not preoccupied with visitors, free exchange of ideas between neighboring stands was possible. This allowed for people of seemingly unrelated fields of work to find a common ground. In a sense Digital Construction Week was very successful in putting together companies that used different aspects of the ‘digital’ world and reaffirming their sense of direction towards capturing visual and abstract data into federated models. The seminars held over the duration of the event were instrumental for showing the industry a bigger – broader picture of the benefits that the ongoing technological upheaval can bring to each actor in the supply chain.
The interest to our products
It was no coincidence that almost all conversations held at the coBuilder stand were highly beneficial to both sides. Delivering accurate ‘as built’ data – a topic that Nick Tune covered during his highly enlightening talk on the main stage of Digital Construction Week, brought many who wished to enquire about our products. We spoke with contractors who were struggling with client’s demands for data and who found that there are not many of the current BIM software solutions that go beyond construction project management and digital modelling and into digital product data delivery. The industry’s hunger for digital data was apparent to our R&D specialists who took great care to explain the nitty-gritty of their day to day work and how important it is for providing BIM with the building blocks (data!!!), required for lifting the performance of the industry to the technical advances of the 21st century. In line with our thoughts on the topic was Alain Waha, Digital transformation – International Operations – “BIM adoption is complete when everything is digital. We want to reach a level when I tell you ‘Send me an email’ you are not expected to lick a stamp”.
What we learned
Not too many students and young people attended the show, which is a shame because one of the reasons such shows are held is to educate the community about the vast opportunities that BIM brings for the future of everyone involved. What we at coBuilder came to believe through talking to show attendants who were not exhibitors is that BIM education is still a gap for its societal stakeholders. BIM is often misunderstood as a mere 3D model and the benefits that it brings as a process are overlooked. What are the ramifications? When the wider construction-related public is not involved in the BIM buzz, people come to think of it as an obscure complication that has taken the construction industry by storm. A major problem arises when future decision-makers come to the point where they need to decide on something they do not know. If BIM experts cannot address the digital natives with BIM (and how exciting it is) what is going to bring young people in the industry? What are we doing if we are keeping the BIM story for just us – BIM professionals?
Today, many people say that BIM has become a business in its own right and view this development as a bad thing. However, we feel that all the BIM professionals and software vendors at the Digital Construction Week are so passionate about applying digital technologies for the AEC industry because they really want to make a change. We from coBuilder for sure are one of these companies, who value the needs of the industry above all – and our industry is starving for the accurate, structured data that we can provide. The businesses that grow and develop around BIM are just providing the industry with the much needed ingredients for a digital revolution. There are no other barriers to implementing BIM than lack of education and people’s reluctance to change the ways they are used to.
For more information visit the official site of the event: http://digitalconstructionweek.com/home