INDUSTRY-LEADING BIM Show Live landed in Newcastle with a bang this February as 400 delegates from across the world converged on the city. Digital construction enthusiasts travelled to the North East for the innovation in technology-led show held in the Stephenson Quarter.
Hosted by Newcastle-based Space Group, the two day event saw handpicked experts deliver a programme of content to delegates, including architects, engineers and construction professionals who gathered in the new-look Boiler Shop venue.
The speakers were expertly choreographed by Chairs David Philp, global BIM/IM consultancy director at AECOM and chair of the Scottish BIM Delivery Group, and Simon Rawlinson, head of strategic research and insight at Arcadis. With the seminar streams delivery split between four rooms, the selection as to which to attend was a difficult task with each offering an elevated level of learning, insight and inspiration.
Show co-founder, Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group commented: “At Space Group we wanted to create a show that not only produced a knowledge exchange and learning platform for digital construction, but to put on a show to remember and we certainly achieved both.
“Since we first began in 2011, we have maintained the philosophy that we are doing this for our colleagues and peers to create opportunities and secure the future of construction. The seminar sessions were packed out, and left standing room only. The enthusiasm from speakers and delegates was infectious.”
With five keynote speakers over the two days, very different perspectives were put forward on digital construction, from innovators and developers to clients and end users.
Mark Shayler, founder and director of Ape, gave the show an electric start with his endless enthusiasm for life, instructing the audience to embrace opportunities and use these to transform how we live and work. James Pellatt, head of projects from Great Portland Estates (GPE) not only delivered a captivating talk on past and future GPE projects, but explained what clients need and expect from BIM providers – not just data, but an imbedded understanding of how to translate BIM into a commercial entity producing long-term returns on investment.
The third keynote on Day 1 was Stuart Maggs, founder of Scaled Robotics. Stuart gave an insight into machine learning through robotics and the level of advancement which has taken place in this sector in the past few years. On Day 2, Nell Watson, engineer, future orientated thinker and faculty member of the Singularity University, was a very tough act to follow, after blowing everyone away with the capabilities of artificial intelligence and how machines operate in a very similar way to the human brain; for what a human can do in one second, so can a machine, the difference is they do it on repeat.
The final keynote speaker was Peter Runacres, Senior Projects Director for Argent, who talked through some of their projects, in particular the retail and office space redevelopment at Kings Cross and attributed its success with being able to put the right people and processes in place.
Over the course of the two days, the four content streams; Data, Stories, Next Generation and Strategy, were populated with digital construction novices as well as the veterans, both captivated by the level of knowledge, technological advancements and just how far the construction industry has come in a short space of time.
BIM Show Live certainly cemented that not only new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, Augment and Virtual Reality are essential to the sustainability of digital construction but are here right now and have a promising long-term future ahead.
Catherine Walker, inward investment director at Invest Newcastle (a service delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of Newcastle to attract and secure new investment and jobs for the city), said: “It was brilliant to see businesses from around the world come to Newcastle for BIM Show Live and experience the local expertise we have here in the city.
“Newcastle is positioned as a centre of excellence for digital construction – driven by a strong academic base of leading universities serving the sector and a competitive architectural market.
“As part of the show we hosted nine European delegates where we promoted the market opportunities and benefits of locating within the UK’s leading city for BIM. The visit was very successful and we are continuing to follow up with the businesses interested in locating here which will in turn help to drive sector and job growth.”
Rob added: “We are already planning for next year, we see this as a long-term commitment and our aim is to help drive a digital revolution to ensure the construction industry achieves another fantastic five years.
“This certainly was a show about the people and for the people who are passionate about digital construction methods and what the future holds for the construction industry. Key learning came from the need to future-proof the industry by introducing new design, build and delivery methods and that the answers may very much lie in the hands of our developers and technologists. Let’s see how far things have progressed when we visit BIM Show Live in 2018.”