What we did at Digital Construction Week

by Andrew Johnson and Dr Melanie Robinson | May 27, 2022 |  4 min read

What we did at Digital Construction Week
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With the resurgence and popularly of live, in-person events for the construction industry, it was time for BIM Academy to venture back into the world of conferences.

Returning to ExCeL London earlier this month was Digital Construction Week (DCW), with over 5000 visitors and 300+ industry expert speakers delivering 120+ hours of free content across nine theatres.

Dr Melanie Robinson and Andrew Johnson attended this digital-innovation-led event and we can safely say it was very much back to pre-pandemic levels of busyness!

Melanie was on the industry expert speaker line-up, and her first stage outing was her presentation on the Information Management Theatre. On day one, Melanie spoke to a well-attended audience about how BIM Academy is applying sound information management principles to help clients with their asset management, focusing on healthcare and the Government’s tagline of ‘data saves lives’.

Melanie took the audience through live case studies, such as how we are working with the delivery team and the Bart’s Health NHS Trust to develop the Whipp’s Cross project into a smart hospital. She also spoke about how we are applying international standards built on UK best practice to our work with Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia, Canada.

The key takeaway from Melanie’s presentation was simple: we need to utilise information management principles, such as consistent file naming, information classification and data structures, to truly achieve a smart hospital.

Shortly after, Melanie took up the mantle of panel moderator on the People & Change Theatre on behalf of Women in BIM (WIB), where she was joined by Elaine Lewis (Managing Director, Cadventure), Kirsty Villiers (BIM Workstream Lead, L&Q) and Antía Rodríguez Castaño (Project BIM Manager, Grimshaw). The panel discussed the concept of mentoring and its role in career development and breaking down barriers for the future workforce.

The panel discussed many experiences with their own mentoring stories and how different mentoring models, such as peer-to-peer and reverse mentoring, can be equally rewarding as traditional methods. They discussed how the role of the WIB Mentor Scheme is helping to de-mystify the mentor-mentee relationship, to emphasise that it is a bidirectional process in the value that it brings and to make it accessible for everyone, regardless of where they are in their career.

Having supported Melanie’s presentation and panel as the cameraman, Andrew mapped out the two-day programme with the top presentations he wanted to catch for any new and exciting industry developments being unveiled at the show and to establish new contacts for our learning and development program. The themes at DCW 2022 were sustainability, digital twins and interoperability, and of course, we cannot leave out infrastructure.

Sustainability is this year’s buzzword following on from the COP26 conference in autumn 2021. The construction industry has been asking why sustainability is essential to construction professionals. Of all the presentations watched, BIM and sustainability were discussed, significantly how BIM can help achieve environmental, social and governance goals.

BIM Academy has its own Digital Climate podcast, where we talk to experts, pioneers and champions in their respective fields on topical trends and industry news for the built environment, all related to climate change.

Embodied carbon was mentioned in many discussions and presentations at DCW, especially how embodied carbon calculations can be visualised in 3D models directly using a combination of data sources and making it accessible to everyone demonstrated transparency and collaboration ­– all this in the first few hours!

Andrew circled the Digital Twins in infrastructure talk on his programme as a must-see, and it demonstrated how to use artificial intelligence, IoT and gaming technologies to simulate and visualise the movement. This compares closely to our Aquila project, which links plant equipment to the project work programme using 4D BIM technology, showing real-time activity to accelerate your understanding of onsite operations – something which Andrew showcased at DCW 2021.

Next on Andrew’s agenda was to scope out talks on interoperability, covering classification, IFC and COBie. BIM Academy is currently developing new courses on each of these topics. It was fantastic to see that NBS launched the new Uniclass website and introduced new tables. BIM Academy’s information managers, responsible for the Standard Information Management Plan (SIMP) projects, are delighted with the update. Timing it right with the release of ISO 19650-4:2022 – Information Exchange next week, we want to offer the industry interoperability courses for IFC and COBie for digital transformation in the built asset industry.

Melanie and Andrew thoroughly enjoyed meeting like-minded people who have a passion for digital transformation within the built environment and they will be speaking at and attending many more event as the year continues to unfold. 

If you’d like to know more about the work Melanie has presented or how Andrew can help you with your learning and development needs, contact us at [email protected] or [email protected].