On Thursday it was my pleasure to attend and live blog the very first BIM4SME Awards ceremony, such an important milestone in the implementation of BIM in UK Construction.
BIM4SME is one of the voluntary working groups set up by the BIM Task Group, which itself was set up by the UK government to help with the implementation of BIM in the UK Construction industry. BIM4SME’s special remit is to support small and medium enterprises, which make up over 80% of construction companies in the UK. There are over 300,000 construction companies, so as BIM4SME chair Tim Platts said on the night, we’ve plenty of work to do.
The awards were originally the brainchild of Gail Williams of Michael Aubrey Partnership, SME Structural Engineers and enthusiastic early adopter of BIM. The idea was picked up and taken on by the BIM4SME working group with the support of the RICS.
The entire awards process, including the event itself was organised and executed by a team of volunteers, who each in their own way are benefiting from BIM and want to share that value with other SMEs in the industry. As I know from my work with the BIM4M2 group for Manufacturers and Manufacturing, there is plenty of scepticism, disinformation and vested interests in UK BIM, and these groups are at the vanguard of spreading positive, impartial messages to help people on the ground make the right decisions about the opportunities that BIM offers.
The BIM4SME awards on Thursday night were testament to that fact. A room full of over 100 advocates, and every speaker attesting to how BIM was helping them work more efficiently, make more money, reduce waste and keep their clients happy.
Alongside the awards themselves several high profile speakers addressed us, including Vice Chair of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Chris Chivers, and Chair of the Judges (and former Chair of BDP) Richard Saxon CBE.
Stefan Mordue was an excellent host and kicked the evening off with a brilliant speech about how important SMEs are to construction, and how important they are to BIM.
— FlippedAcademic (@Rob_Garvey) June 18, 2015
One of Richard Saxon’s comments particularly chimed with me. ‘The problem with the industry is trust and money – There’s no trust and not enough money’
‘The problem with the industry is trust and money – There’s no trust and not enough money’ -Richard Saxon #BIM4SMEawards
— Su Butcher (@SuButcher) June 18, 2015
I agree with him, there isn’t enough trust in the industry, though there is quite a bit of money. A lack of trust is partly our culture, and partly the fact that there are always one or two crooks about to make sure they get more of the money than everyone else. How can we change that? Someone has to take the first step.
Trust is absolutely essential to implement BIM, and that means people have to take a risk and step out with an open hand to their colleagues across the table and across the site, offering a new way of doing things, one in which everyone wins. Unsurprisingly, the people most likely to take that step are the SMEs.
In that room on Thursday were over 100 people who have already managed to beat the crooks, and the big guys, against the odds and use BIM to make sure everyone on a project is a winner, from designer to contractor, from supplier to client.
If you want to be part of that movement I suggest you seek them out, talk to them and find out what they are doing, because you can expect a warm welcome and plenty of support. What are you waiting for?
Winners of the BIM4SME Awards 2015
Best BIM Project – Medium Enterprise (51-250 employees) Sponsored by Exactal Europe Ltd
Winner: Bond Bryan Architects for Bradford College and Beyond
Best BIM Project – Small or Micro Enterprise (1-50 employees) Sponsored by Exactal Europe Ltd
Winner: Howard Russell Construction for Mash Purveyors, Park Royal
Best BIM SME Newcomer Sponsored by Middlesex University
Winner: Baxall Construction Limited
Best BIM SME Innovation Sponsored by Newforma Inc.
Best BIM SME Training Strategy
Winner: Coombs (Canterbury) Ltd
Best BIM SME Engagement and Support Programme Sponsored by Autodesk
Winner: Unisearch-UK and IEC
Because I knew I was live blogging the event well in advance we ran a Tracker on the twitter activity using the hashtags #BIM4SMEawards, #BIM4SME and #RICSBIM and mentions of the @BIM4SME working group’s twitter account.
Over the month, 328 twitter users contributed 1538 tweets about the event, which have reached 401,551 twitter accounts 8,237,765 times at the time of writing. SMEs are very active on twitter and particularly conversational as the accounts are usually unfettered by the restrictions of larger organisations’ social media policies.
At the peak of activity on Thursday there were 749 tweets sent during the day, 184 between 8pm and 9pm alone. The conversations that spin off from these tweets are difficult to measure.
— Bond Bryan BIM (@bondbryanBIM) June 19, 2015
Other Live Blogging Events
If you enjoyed the live tweeting and blogging from the BIM4SME awards you might be interested that I’m live blogging the Single Ply Roofing Association’s Inaugural Conference on Wednesday afternoon, and on 8th July I’m blogging the RIBA Journal event, Treading Softly: Cradle to Cradle – the best way to achieve a zero carbon footprint?. You can also follow along on twitter with #SPRAEvents2015 and #c2cdebate respectively.