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Welcome to my world of disconnected environmental, community and family projects.
I have been working in the renewable energy field for a number of years and this web site has been set up to give you a flavour of some of the projects that I have been involved in both professionally and as a keen, but slightly mad, DIY fanatic.
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A New Role 07/09/2015
Having spent 20 years working for the same company and at the tender age of 57 I have accepted a new job with KTN Ltd, the Knowledge Transfer Network as a Knowledge Transfer Manager. A fancy name for an old fashioned idea of networking. I will be specialising in Digital Construction which is primarily about BIM. Building Information model or Building Information Modelling. You can find a good government link to what it is all about here.
BIM is a natural progression in the way we build to incorporate all the construction details in a 3D model. The advantages in the construction process are vast. Working with a complete supply chain in a collaborative and joined up way should give us better buildings with fewer faults in the construction process. BIM has been slightly hijacked by the software companies so that many people think it is just a 3D model. It is so much more than this.
Over the coming weeks I will update this blog with more details of what I see as the key components & pitfalls facing the UK construction industry as we all start to get to grips with BIM and digital construction.
Digital construction week was one of my first public ventures in my new role as Digital Construction expert for the KTN. The opening reception on the Tuesday evening, had a strange rightness with the drinking of Guinness in the Irish Embassy (I was always led to believe that is doesn’t travel, not true of this stuff).
To the conference its self on Wednesday & Thursday. David Philp head of the BIM task group gave a good welcoming speech which confirmed the Governments commitment to BIM and the ongoing role of the BIM task group.
So, what is digital construction the panel discussion asked its self this question and some useful interesting responses helped me understand some of the issues.
The Autodesk talk was a inspiring look into the recent computing past and a possible future.
Skylar Tibbits gave a very interesting talk about the use of self assembly material similar to his TED talk
I went to the The future of construction Automation & Innovation with a very lively debate about some of the possible ways of building in the future and there was a clear message that the future of construction is not simply 3D printing. Perhaps large scale 3D printing from robots and manipulating materials has greater potential.
Shaken & stirred, the digital natives are coming, was an inspiring talk about the future of construction from the digital natives point of view. A number of sixteen year olds who’s school has been sponsored by Laing O’Rourke showed off how they could work with a BIM model for James Bond 007 hotel; watch out your grey-haired old men the digital natives are coming and they want your job. Laing O’Rourke where very enthusiastic about the the benefits, to a construction business, of sponsoring a local school. Talk to your local head teacher.
A panel discussion looked at Digital growth and the skills need to get us to the next level. The digital natives are coming; but in enough numbers and quality to construction when they seems to mainly aspire to the gaming industry?
I had to miss some parts of Thursday but the initial panel discussion looking at the big BIM debate had a variety of input from different parts of the industry and got a lot of interesting & challenging questions form the floor.
Andrew McNaughton HH2 technical Directors piece on Building a digital railway was an interesting look at how the BIM can be the basis for a complete digital projects that inform, guides and updates the operational railway, including teaching people to build it in a virtual reality world.
Industry Change a new way of working again produced some really good questions from the floor challenging the lawyers, constructors and consultants. Who did surprisingly produce an vast amount of collaborative working, in the panel at any rate.
The final panel the Challenges and opportunities of True Industry wide collaboration was probably the best even, if it was only because I was on the panel. There was again a good and informative selection of questions from the floor.
So was Digital Construction Week a success? Well for me a resounding yes, I learnt a lot and got to network with a number of new people. For the industry as a whole? I am not sure, there were not enough people at the event and I am sure that the exhibitors would have been disappointed. A more inclusive format, perhaps where the conference works alongside the exhibition so that people could attend part of the conference and visit the exhibition and not have to pay a £300 fee could be a model that might encourage more people to attend. More exhibitors might get the cost of the conference down and perhaps do away with the CPD feature spaces in the exhibition floor which are always too noisy and distracting. I would be happy to be involved again next year if it happens.