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BIM Show Live 2019 brings digital construction to life

BIM Show Live showed the UK in just two days what makes the construction industry so special.

Famous for providing a platform for innovation and new technologies, BIM Show Live is a beacon for the digital built environment and does so with charm, charisma and a heavy dose of fun!

BIM Show Live kicked off with the faultless Simon Rawlinson who opened the show and proceeded to very cleverly guide us through the course of the day, giving insights into what to expect, what we needed to understand and where the industry as a whole is heading.

Simon said we’re ready for a “construction revolution” creating opportunities for young people to gain new skills and develop new capabilities. With improved productivity this is achievable. Simon told everyone on the room “you all have a responsibility to make this happen, we can all do better and we must challenge ourselves”.

And it was this very statement that rang true throughout out the next two days. People laying down challenges for others to open their minds to new ways of working and building a better future for the construction industry.

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

Taking to the stage after Simon was BIM Show Live co-founder Rob Charlton, with his annual State of the Nation address; “BIM Show Live has covered a lot of ground in the past eight years. We have had over 4500 delegates and 260 classes, and in this time we have witnessed accelerate adoption of digital construction. However we have also become very good at criticising our sector, particularly if we consider the skills shortage will continue to grow and the impact of Brexit is likely to mean we lose some experience from the sector.

“However, it is not all bad, far from it, and now it is now time to focus on the positives, as we certainly have many positives ahead of us.

“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.”

Next up was the first of four keynote speakers, Professor James Woudhuysen, who told us 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 and its what we do with the information that counts as much as how we acquire and process it.

A sentiment echoed in the second keynote of the day, James Austin of Autodesk. James’s insightful delivery of where the industry is now, where it has arrived from and where it is headed captivated the audience. James told us “to stand still would be catastrophic, 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”.

Each of these key industry figures talked about positive change and not just how to achieve this but why we need it. Which was a perfect lead into an astonishingly brilliant set of seminar presentations on day 1 from the likes of Jaimie Johnson at Bryden Wood (who was named as the best presentation of the show), Adam Ward of BIM Technologies who’s discussion on the need to industrialise construction and take the lead from Design for Manufacture Assembly (DFMA) was mind-blowing, Sasha Reed from Bluebeam explored how technology and construction are merging, a legal BIM perspective from May Winfield who launched the Winfield Rock Report at BSL2018 and to the closing presentation of the day which won the most attended seminar, an exploration of the new ISO19650 standard by one of the standards authors Paul Shillcock, accompanied by Emma Hooper and Andy Boutle of the UK BIM Alliance.

But day 1 wasn’t just about the speakers, it was packed full of engagement, demonstrations and live Facebook Streaming from The B1M, to allow those who weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket, to experience a small piece of the action.

As day 2 turned around (far too quickly), the Godfather of BIM, David Philp took up the role of content Chair who picked up the theme on change and married this with culture and behaviours – human engagement perfectly in sync with the convergence of progressive technologies, the IoT and once again the mention of “digital twins”.

We all know David is a tough act to follow, but when Jay Zallan graced the stage the BIM world stood still. This giant of industry and giant of a man 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. We need to drive the technology and not let the technology drive us!”.

Jay certainly challenged the statue quo of what we think about BIM and what BIM actually needs to be. This point of view set the twitter sphere on fire!

What proceeded was another exceptional day of discussion, learning and knowledge-exchange. Vicki Holmes led the parade for change with her Breaking out of the BIM bubble session, a trusted trio (Andrew de Silva, George Stephenson and Lloyd Patman) brought us down to earth with why we need the Golden Thread in all project delivery, Mark Winnington from Zaha Hadid Architects debated the merits of freeform design in BIM production and there was even BIM from a soldiers perspective from British Army Warrant Officer Andrew Johnson – now that was interesting.

As the main sessions took a break for lunch, the tech stage was just warming up with talks from Viewpoint, Nemetschek and the UK BIM Alliance. The latter being a panel debate on how the new ISO 1650 standard is impacting on the various networks within the supply chain, and just to show that the industry is progressing in the right direction, it was an all-female panel.

The final keynote of the show was one that the event planners were keeping up their sleeve, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, along came Ivo Tedbury with his out-of-this-world robotic discoveries. Which won him best technical presentation of the show.

And of course any review wouldn’t be complete with out a nod to two Turner and Townsend very brave individuals, Tom Oulton and George Mocktar for their rendition of BIM the Musical – where would be without a “Million Dreams” to end “This is the Great Show”. And indeed it was the greatest BIM show we’ve had – thank you all.

If you’d like to register your interest to attend BIM Show Live 2020 sign up here.