Information modelling for greener buildings was the title of an excellent seminar at Ecobuild in London yesterday afternoon on building information modelling (BIM). Well chaired and introduced by Richard Saxon (ex-BDP), the session also featured presentations from:
- James Warne (environmental engineering director, BDP) on BIM and sustainability
- Nick Nisbet (AEC3) on BuildingSMART, IFCs and SMARTcodes
- Rob Annable (director, Axis Design Architects) on the future of BIM and social media.
- Adrian Dobson (director of practice, RIBA) on BIM and architects
Rob’s presentation was, for me, the highlight of the seminar. Rob described how Axis encouraged local residents to give feedback about a new neighbourhood scheme via blogging, phonecams, RSS and other user-generated content. Last week, with Slider Studio they launched YouCanPlan – a web-based interface that allowed individuals to give detailed feedback on design proposals, even to chat with the designers online. Rob showed a photo of a 14-year-old boy getting involved with BIM processes and said teenagers (a key target for the consultation, and one often ignored by conventional consultation processes) were quick to adopt the online tools, then helping their parents/carers to follow suit. Talking about social media, Rob described Pachube, Twitter and OpenStreetMap initiatives, including the use of GPS-enabled Moblogs to help populate local maps with user-generated data. (Update (09 March 2009): Rob also talked about combining Pachube and social media for climate change competitions – see pwcom blog.)
Adrian briefly mentioned the recently-launched RIBA knowledge communities (but missed the opportunity to show a weblink to it; Claire Sinclair blogged about this development on the Be2camp website in December. It’s http://www.riba-knowledgecommunities.com/).
I used the Q&A session at the end to ask if the recession posed a threat or an opportunity to the adoption of BIM, and the consensus was that it was very much an opportunity (in line with my own thoughts: some “may take the view that now is exactly the right time to invest so that they will be ready when the recovery comes“). Memorably, Richard likened the reaction of some architects to that of “a deer caught in the headlights of a fast approaching vehicle – all they can do is stand still, making a strange mewing noise, refusing to believe this is actually going to happen to them.”