The BIM Academy end of year message for 2023

by Dr Graham Kelly | December 15, 2023 | 5 min read

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As 2023 draws to a close I wanted to take the opportunity to look back on a year that has exceeded our expectations. Everything we do is rooted in digital innovation, and 2023 was a showcase of the ingenuity within our team. There have been too many highlights to mention each one, but I have tried to capture a few that made a lasting impression.

The BIM Academy team grew by almost 50% from 2022 to 2023, and part of this was through the introduction of new services in modern methods of construction (MMC), building safety, and a new sustainability team. We have worked hard to bring together the right people to conquer complexity, drive visible change, and initiate positive long term digital impact.

MMC is a process which focuses on offsite construction methods, such as mass production and manufacture assembly, as an alternative to traditional building techniques. This year our MMC team has been instrumental in many large, complex projects across education, housing, health and research, which have increased the amount of pre manufactured elements by an average of 20%, resulting in cost savings and improved delivery and installation

Equally, a critical element of managing the whole lifecycle of an asset is health and safety, and, finally, the need to create a safer built environment was mandated with the introduction of the new Building Safety Act. In October this year, it also became mandatory for any high rise residential building owner to hold and maintain a building safety case. To support this change in legislation we delivered a series of events, throughout the UK and virtually, to enable industry to better understand these requirements and how to comply with new building safety legislation. In support of this we produced an e-book on how to create and building safety case. It was a busy year for our safety team!

Another milestone this year was the introduction of our new sustainability team, with the objective of driving the augmentation of digital and sustainability agendas to the forefront of construction and asset management projects. Combining expertise in both areas showcased the optimisation of better design (for both new build and retrofit).

A huge part of our sustainability action plan is also evident in our Digital Climate podcast series where we often ask the question: “As the construction industry transitions to a digital first approach, could the technologies behind this digital transformation be the answer to construction winning the fight against climate change and achieving global net zero emissions targets?”. To this question, many of our guests would say: follow the data! I wish to thank all our podcast guests this year. We have very much enjoyed talking to you all.

As digital strategists, data is an integral part of everything we do. This is evident in the way we visualise construction data through our digital twin expertise and real time monitoring capabilities through the use of data sensing technologies. It’s also important to understand that the digital twin is not a new concept. BIM Academy has been delivering on digital twins for over 10 years, starting with the creation of an exact digital replica of the entire Northumbria University campus in the UK in 2011. We also used the same technology on the Sydney Opera House, which enjoyed its 50th anniversary in 2023.

The BIM Academy end of year message for 2023

We couldn’t let 2023 go by without mentioning the extraordinary growth in artificial intelligence (AI) applications across the construction sector. It certainly has been a breakthrough year for AI, with many seeing AI as a friend and equally as many as a foe. AI is front and centre for almost every industry, not just construction, and is poised to change just about everything!

One particular project where AI has been instrumental in its success is the work we are doing in the development of a new Construction Risk Library. In May 2023 we were awarded a contract with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Discovering Safety to work on a new Construction Risk Library (CRL). The CRL will be digital toolkit to assist designers in their health and safety work through the sharing of knowledge in a visual environment, enabling designers to access and benefit from endless health and safety data.

As part of our research into the development of the new CRL, we have introduced an AI powered chatbot, which users can ask safety and risk related questions, as well as more specific queries to support their research and strategic planning. The AI will then visualise the risk(s) and offer the top five possible mitigation strategies.

Our primary goal at BIM Academy has always been to leverage technology to make the design and construction process more efficient. Recent developments with generative AI are accelerating the work we have been doing for years with machine learning to enhance and improve every aspect of a client’s project.

And finally, our sister company Ryder Architecture also celebrated a huge milestone, with 2023 being its 70th anniversary. Ryder is so much more than an architectural practice, it brings together diverse expertise and leads projects in a unique, integrated way for the benefit of its clients and communities. This is particularly evident in its approach to learning and development – an area at the heart of BIM Academy. Our learning and development initiatives offer a wide range of training programmes designed to inspire enquiring minds, enabling a paradigm of exploration into the world of digital construction and the development of new skills. In 2023 we delivered training to many UK colleges and universities, as well as the British Army and Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

It certainly has been an incredibly busy year, and we end it with further commitments to continue investing in our team and our business. I am looking to 2024 with positivity, confidence, and optimism for another year of great achievement from a commendable team with shared passions for digital processes and how they can be truly transformational.

About the author

Dr Graham Kelly

Managing Director, BIM Academy

Graham is responsible for leading strategy and implementation of digital transformation strategies specific to clients’ real needs. This goes beyond BIM: it is as much about the people as it is about the technology. He has over 10 years’ experience in construction and academia, also completing a PhD in early 2015.