ETS at Building Live

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Myself and Elizabeth  were excited to attend this years Building Live Conference in London.

Under discussion was the existing and future BIM Levels.


As we move through the levels of BIM the focus begins to change.

  • Level 1: Is all about the Design and Construction of the building, and moving that to a digital age.
  • Level 2: Starts to focus in on Facilities Management and how we can help the owners / renters and managers of a building, introducing the idea of a “soft landing” where the transition from building to inhabiting is made much smoother.
  • Level 3: Includes smarter construction and operations with truly common data environments and real-time data.
  • Level 4: Looks to connect this all up on a grid of data to move from a smarter buildings to smarter cites.

While the UK Government has mandated the use of BIM on all public sector buildings, the industry as a whole is waking up to the benefits of the technology with BIM usage in private sector buildings increasing from 53% in 2015 to 73% in 2016. In one of the panels we attended we saw how a collection of three projects saved an estimated £1.1 million with BIM. This is likely to be an under-estimate, because how do you measure the cost of problems that did not happen.

Right now some of hottest problems in BIM are around contracts and collaboration. On the issue of contracts is about building trust between parties, and establishing who is responsible for what and ensuring they stick to this. This can be complicated for multiple parties, especially ones with a large amount of data collection and organization that BIM requires. So they are often kept simple and single party which is inefficient and works against collaboration. Smart Contracts is a solution that IBM are uniquely positioned to offer in this area, with our contributions to the HyperLedger Project, this would allow for complex contracts to check in an unbiased way that all requirements have been fulfilled before releasing money.

The lack of skills in BIM is another problem faced by construction companies. There is a gap in the number of people that are trained to the number of people that actually understand BIM. This year will be the first year of such resources coming out of universities and it is clear that there needs to be a shared vision and understanding of the information provided for training. This could be aided through virtual field training, giving users a life like experience.

Some of the ideas about the future of BIM we heard about were:

Virtual Reality – Using VR to explore and work with BIM Models, and use for training. Here at ETS we are already working in that very area. We have also worked on a touch screen version of this idea.
Augmented Reality Maintenance – Using AR to explore a building, see it’s real-time data, speed up access to data and help. Again ETS have work this area.
Predictive Maintenance – Using data feeds from machines, pipes, and the building as a whole to predict failures before they happen. Machine Learning, and Predictive analytics.

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