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

    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

    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 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.”