We are now very much into the thick of our course and the Learner's projects have now become more 'Multi-disciplinary' with structural models now designed and modeled within Autodesk Revit, and have been introduced and learning how to build quality content objects for their projects. We had The NBS, one of our course supporters and also sponsoring one of learners, joining us to explain their BIM Toolkit, and how they are supporting the construction industry in easing the specification process throughout the project process. It was fantastic to heave their team here, and we look forward to them attending our Graduate evening in a couple of weeks where they will look to employ one of our Learners following the course completion.
This week has been a challenging week for most, none of our Learners have structural backgrounds, so it fell to the Architectural based learners to bring their University project experiences to the table and advise their project teams through the week. Many of our teams have adopted a mixed steel and concrete system, with structural stair cores and bracing where needed. With our buildings excavating into the steep hill onto the site, we have large retaining walls at basement levels and lower levels, through to steel frame systems for the levels above. One team has based their architectural design on a modulated systems for their apartment buildings, resulting in a smaller number of concrete retaining walls in the lower levels, and then a Structurally Insulated Panel (SIP) panel system for the apartment buildings above. It became very apparent the designs that have more straight forward structural design solutions and were able to push through their design tasks this week with ease, but those that took more challenging architectural form in last weeks exercises, have found that they have many more 'ugly' details revealing themselves now they have their 'Structural Engineer' hats on, and realising that they have a lot to coordinate next week between the two discipline's designs. The SIP panel team, having spent a long and frustratingly painful time last week modulating their design last week, are reaping the benefits this week and are looking forward to their coming week. All in all, a really interesting week seeing the teams come to realise the importance of the roles the other disciples have in their projects, a MAJOR factor most university courses are not addressing and clearly becoming apart for these graduates, but all showed a great attitude to the work needed to be done, and a lot learnt for the teams on the other disciplines skills.
As well as our structural design exercises, our learners took to the important task of creating their own content and becoming familiar with the Revit content environment. Nearly all our students have had past experience 3D modelling in either Sketchup, or 3DS max, so creating acurate free form geometry was natural to them and they all easily picked up the Revit tools. What didn't come so naturally for some, was the parametric and rule based modelling that has become invaluable for our industry over the past few years. Parametric modelling is a different way to approach design, and not common across all building design teams and justifiably for some, but invaluable for object based modelling and a huge time saver for nearly all teams. Our learners were introduced to the use of Parametrically controlled geometry modelling, syntax rule based parameters and data driven inputs for their objects.
Our teams have been hard at work this week developing and iterating their Architectural designs and working collaboratively together. After a few hiccups working in a 'single model' together and getting used to other team members working in the same model as them, things started really picking up pace, and the divide and concur decended. As a trainer, it is always fun seeing the mist lift at this moment and seeing users' outputs suddenly explode and the realisation of 'Why we didn't we know how to do this before?!'
Our teams have taken different approaches to our project brief (see attached) and have been building and working to the site constraints captured in the previous week. Two have undertaken a student housing developments, one predominantly prefab with restaurant for mature students, the other a behemoth bespoke building breaking the Tyne Bridge road level with student bar and public restaurant. The third group are developing a music venue with recording and practice rooms with a complex facade system and social area. All are taking very different approaches, and I'm excited to see how they turn out.
Although a week focused on project development and getting content created, we took a trip to spaceworks for a day of presentations and workshops with our course supporters bimstore, BIM Technologies and Space Architects on a range of topics and working methods to both help direct the learners as they begin their professional careers, and inspire them with what we believe the AEC industry is on the brink of becoming. Sessions included a 'State of the Nation' style presentation and discussion with Rob Charlton, a pioneer and advocate for fixing the skills gap that's systemic across the construction industry and the instigator of BIM Campus, hands-on sessions with cutting edge technology developments and futures insight of BIM with Adam Ward, Technology Director and known curator of bespoke workflows and technology solutions across the industry, content creation workshops with Kris Atkinson, Head of Content at bimstore and expert in exchange of content between teams and and projects, and an inspiring workshop on Interior Design with BIM and the speed efficiencies now available by Darren Purvis, Senior Interior Designer at Space Architects. A fantastic day and the feedback from the learners has been great with all coming out very excited and even more engaged going forward.
We are so pleased to announce that we are being supported by our very own North Eastern neighbors BIM Academy.
From the day we announced our rekindling, BIM Academy have been fully supportive and have actively sort out solutions for some of our trickier problems getting the course going again. It is in their own training suite at the Northern Design Center that we have taken up camp, and they have continued to offer support throughout for all of our learners.
As we were in the process of developing the new course, BIM Academy have offered invaluable insight into their views on the skills gap issue of the construction industry, and have contributed and confirmed their support for our objectives and drive to bring new skilled young professionals across the industry, and we thank them for their support.
For more information on our Building Skills course and upcoming events, please click here.
As we enter week two, it is pleasing to see how well the learners have been taking to Revit and how confident they are moving around the platform now. We began the week with a short design exercise before starting out main city project. With our 'Client' hats on, we outlined our design briefs, gathered our site data and developed our EIR before developing our BEP, and started on our architectural design model. Please see the more detailed description below, and an even more detailed overview of our workshop with our sponsors FARO here.
Starting the week with a short design project, our group divided into three teams and underwent the design of a secondary school design with a small selection of real world design restrictions. A large room schedule and space requirement sheet for a 900 student school, a regular grid for the structure, 1 or 2 stories only and short time frame to produce a set of concept drawings.
Each team dove into spacial planning and departmentalising the room schedule by subject, and began modelling their schools. Each team had very different design approaches and each produced very different designs. Some hiccups with modelling techniques we addressed along the way, and by Tuesday Lunch, they presented their designs to the other teams. As you can see some very different outcomes but a lot of work achieved from a small team of people in a day and a half.
The City Project
Following our school design presentations, we got started straight into the brief of our main project on the course - Akenside Hill; the city project. A very challenging site with a steep bank and very tall surrounding buildings. See the brief project requirements here. After introducing the team to the project, and going over our 3D CAD and OS map data, we broke out from the training suite and took to the site. Here the teams were introduced to the site and it's difficult terrain, and began sketching out ideas for the buildings and designs they were going to develop over the next 5 weeks.
Wednesday morning. We met Chris Palmer from our course supporters FARO on site to capture as accurately as possible the site in 3D. Chris showed us how easy and quickly it was to start gathering the data we needed on site, and how to set up the equipment. We went through the different quality settings and resolutions available from the scanner and the features available to us and got each of our learners to set the station up as we worked around the site. After an hour or so on site, the heavens started to open (typical) so we made a break for it back to the training suite, and began to register the clouds we already had. Chris showed our learners how laser point clouds have changed the surveying industry in recent years, and showed some of the applications that can be used using the technology. Using FARO Scene, we were able to registers the clouds against one another, obtaining a very accurate result between the clouds before importing these into ReCap and finally into Revit for the set up of our project. Chris showed us a wide range of features as part of PointSense, and I can see how much a time saving this will be for us. I could go on and on about this day, as I learned a lot myself, but please click here for a more in depth article on our day with FARO.
Starting the project with BIM
Now that we had developed a design brief, and had gathered our site data, we were introduced to the processes and workflows of BIM on projects by our very own Olly Thomas of BIM Technologies, another kind sponsor of the BIM Campus course. Olly introduced and explained the set of standards and documents outlined with the UK BIM Level 2 objectives, and helped outline some of the targets and objectives our learners could follow for their own projects. From here, we began developing our own EIR document, identifying the data outcomes that we wanted from our models, our LOD requirements and how we would exchange our information. A short summary, but enough to think about going forward.
From here, we began developing a brief BEP, but we will improve upon this as the course develops, and we introduce our learners to more BIM workflows and processes.
Project Set up
As we closed the week, our teams set up the project coordinates and collated all the site information we had and began our Architectural designs for the project. We will have more information on this next week, as we develop them further, and begin to document the designs and outcomes.
So we are into the second week of the Building Skills course in Newcastle, about to launch into the main project of the course, but I thought I would take a moment to update everyone with what we have done so far and how we have been getting on.
After introductions and settling into our new Northern Design Center lab space, we discovered each of the learners backgrounds and experiences with the construction industry and their use of BIM during their times at University. Among the Architectural Assistants were the traditional Sketchup models to 2D CAD detailing and Photoshop touch-up work flows. Our Interior Designers had AutoCAD Architecture backgrounds (a small step in the right direction from the past) with 3DS Max and Photoshop skill across the board, and our Architectural Technician had been introduced to Revit during her time at a work experience placement, but traditionally 2D CAD experience. And last but by no means least, our computer coder is a C# writer who's been working in games graphic development, so doesn't even have an AEC degree let alone work experience in the field, but is looking to bring his skills to the AEC industry. By all accounts a great spread of experiences, but we have had very little interest from structural or MEP students (we've been trying so hard), and have subsequently left us with no other disciplines? It's also worth noting that NONE of the students really knew what BIM was or how it was going to help them beyond the 3D coordination, which many perceived was the whole purpose of BIM.
After a brief presentation on the background of myself, and the work of spacegroup and it's different company profiles, we delved into BIM and what BIM is from a UK perspective. We introduced the UK Construction strategy targets, the Level 2 mandate, and the day to day benefits that BIM workflows bring to design teams, as well as showing a few glimpses of where we at BIM Campus think BIM is heading in the years to come.
From here, we got our heads down and started cracking into Autodesk Revit, introducing the concepts and features most commonly used, how some would have been of benefit during the University projects, and how some bring real improvements to professional practice and day to day working. Many picked this up incredibly quickly, and we were very impressed by the Interior Designers who flew through the exercies and took to Revit like ducks in water.
Towards the end of the week, we started our first project 'The House' - a sheet of plans/sections/elevations of a typical 3 bedroom detached house that needed converting into Revit - to get there heads round the interface and get comfortable with modeling in Revit. This introduced them to the a typical work flow in practice of receiving 2D information from external teams, and having to bring that into the Revit environments. I was amazed by how fast they flew through this exercise!
I had to bring more advanced presentation features to the foray, 3D Sections Views, Perspective cut aways, renders, concept sketch views, exploded axonometrics and more... This was brilliant! And we haven't got to presenting the data within the model yet. I didn't see a single Text Box used. All labels and keynotes. Those that know me know that this makes me very happy, and I'm pleased that the concept of pulling the data from the models instead of embellishing over the top was adopted from the get go.
I'm so excited about what this group has to offer, and I think there are going to be some fantastic projects at the end of this course. Our sponsors have landed on their feet with this group and I can't wait for the interview evening at the end of the course. We are still looking for a couple more sponsors, to get that 1:1 ratio of sponsor to learner, but I think our current sponsors may snap a couple if they get a chance once they meet them.
Working alongside The NBS and their free to use BIM Toolkit, our learners will be defining roles and responsibilities in the method needed by the UK Construction Industry.
With the successful launch of the NBS BIM Toolkit, it has become a key component in the UK Government's Level 2 BIM strategy, introducing a unified classification and object template, and the Digital Plan of Works tool, our student will be off to a flaying start within the industry.
The NBS team will be running workshops with our learners to understand the key benefits of the BIM Toolkit. They will have sessions on:
Understanding these key tools gives a huge advantage to our learners, and is leading them into the importance of specifications and structured data. Understanding these will begin to bridge the gap in the industry where new young professionals are intimidated to look at specification writing, and defining key information requirements at the start of projects. We will be seeing in the very near future, that our course graduates will be taking the reins in some areas often seen as untouchable.
To find out more about the course and get yourself enrolled click here.
Working with Glodon and their innovative approach to Costing and Quantity Take Off, our learners will have the workflows needed to create great buildings.
As a market leader in the Asian construction market, Glodon bring a fresh and innovative approach to Quantity Take Off (QTO) and costing to the UK, with an engaging suite of software and a great understanding of how QTO and costing fits within the BIM Process.
Glodon's products provide BIM-based quantity takeoff software for AEC professionals, which have successfully passed the buildingSMART certification. It easily loads in IFC files, and can generate accurate reports very quickly from the models.
We are excited to introduce the learners to this software, and are looking forward to seeing them designs they create whilst quickly understanding the cost implications of changing their designs.
To find out more about the course and to get enrolled here.
Creating content is a must have skill, and who better to teach us, than bimstore!
With over 2000 manufacturer specific components FREE for download on the bimstore.co.uk website, who better to teach our Learners how to create BIM objects and content.
Learners will work closely with the content creators to create high quality objects, understand the use and increased productivity of parametric modelling, and how to have some fun whilst doing it. We will learn how to meet and exceed the UK Industry Standards AEC, Bsi, PAS1192:2 as well as the importance of COBie and Classification systems within our content.
With these skills to hand, the Learners will have the ability to push their designs to another level of complexity and detail, whilst increasing the efficiency of their work.
Find out more about our FREE 6 week course, and yourselves signed up here.
Ongoing support from Leica is a huge benefit to the construction industry
Leica have been an ongoing supporter of BIM Campus and it's learners and we are so pleased that they wish to continue supporting us on our future courses.
Leica are a complete reality-capture solutions provider and an industry leader within the UK. The workshops they will be running with the learners will help them understand the vast benefits of geospatial capturing and modeling from this data, and how this can improve the design and delivery of their projects once in their professional work.
Learners will be introduced to the cutting edge technologies from Leica, and get hands on experience with the tools and processes available to leading construction professionals. They will begin to understand and know how to bridge the gaps between designing and being immersed within computer environments and softwares, and how to bring their designs into reality on construction sites. This is a great opportunity to the learners and we are so excited to see them engage with this.
Click here to find out more and get further information on how BIM Campus is preparing young professionals for the cutting edge of construction technologies.