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BIM’s social impact in the spotlight

The role of digital construction in driving social change was in the spotlight last week, as over 400 delegates and 50 speakers from around the world attended BIM Show Live on 26-27 February.

This year’s event was based on a theme of ‘BIM For Good’, designed to lead the debate around ways in which Building Information Modelling (BIM) can respond to topical challenges such as environmental management of carbon emissions, poverty reduction and an ageing population.

Stuart Maggs CEO of Scaled Robotics

Delegates heard from keynote speakers and Stuart Maggs (CEO of Scaled Robotics), Timandra Harkness (BBC presenter, author, comedian and data expert), Oliver Heath (TV presenter and sustainable architect and designer), Nic Palmarini (Director of the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing).

Topics covered by the full programme of speakers included ways in which the UK’s expertise in BIM is now being shared around the world to improve outcomes in countries as far afield as Vietnam and Peru; the implications of designing for changing demographics and how robotics and machine learning can be used to deliver more value on construction sites.

Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group and co-founder of BIM Show Live, said:

“This year’s event shows just how far digital construction has come in the UK and how our collective expertise and experience is driving the adoption of BIM not just in the UK but on a global scale. The programme for this year was more outward-looking than ever before and our fantastic panel of speakers over the two days reflected this. It’s clear we’re now on a path to realising that the true value of BIM has can, and should, go far beyond how we manage the design and delivery of buildings. We all have a responsibility to use digital construction and data to drive better outcomes for communities and society as a whole.

“It is genuinely inspiring to see how BIM can be a real game-changer. However, what was also very clear from the talks and discussions at BIM Show Live this year is that we still have a lot of work to do to get our own house in order. Many of the people I spoke to, like me, are following the Grenfell Inquiry Phase 2. It’s extremely concerning to see how much urgently still needs to change in the way the sector operates. We now have the tools and the expertise to work more effectively together and ensure the issues emerging on a daily basis around Grenfell are never repeated. A consistent theme of the event was the need for construction to wake up and do better. We can’t wait for legislation to drive process and culture change, we need to be the ones making it happen now.”

As part of BIM Show Live’s theme, a new category was created this year for its national BIM Awards. The BIM for Good Award championed pioneers working to help others and the environment. The winner of the inaugural award was David Miller Architects. Other winners on the night included NBS Chorus (Best New BIM Product), TwinView (Most Innovative BIM Solution) and Auriens Chelsea Project (BIM Project of the Year).

Sustainability was at the heart of this year’s BIM Show Live. Food was all locally sourced and vegetarian and vegan, the printed delegate programme was replaced by a digital app, all drinks cups were reusable, with delegates encouraged to bring their own, and the BIM Awards trophies were made from sustainable source of wood.

Rob Charlton CEO of Space Group and co founder of BIM Show Live

Rob Charlton concluded:

“BIM Show Live was a real showcase for the expertise, passion and ambition around digital construction in the UK. We are rightly acknowledged as leaders in this field and have much to be proud of. But it also highlights that the challenges we face in moving forward are significant. There’s no doubt we have the capability as construction professionals to take these on, but we need to focus on the big picture, roll our sleeves up and get on with it.”