This blog post may be over a week late but I thought I’d summarise my experience of last week’s EcoBuild event.
Ecobuild is a National event that attracts a large number of ‘eco’ companies (and some who, ironically, aren’t so ‘eco’) but its a great way to network with a large number of existing and new contacts from around the UK who are keen to chat about the eco -issues we are all facing in the construction industry. In addition to the exhibition there are seminars, workshops, product launches and awards.
This year the conference was divided into 6 ‘streams’:
- Making Sustainable Construction Happen
- Beyond Construction
- Design, Architecture & Sustainability
- Sustainable property
- Sustainability Overseas
- Ecobuild Arena
It’s a great event and worth the slightly tedious journey out to the ExCel Arena (and yes, I’m aware I’m not winning any friends who have to travel the length of the country to get there!).
I’d not been able to attend all three days so chose the one day I thought would benefit me the most, based upon the seminar sessions. ArAs had one of my BIM buddies Kate Fletcher (@KitKatFletcher) and my boss Mike Beaven speaking on the first day, so we were adequately covered!
As usual Twitter came to the fore at a conference where it’s just not possible to attend every single session. Great Twitter coverage from the people I follow, enabled me to keep up with the seminar sessions I’d missed in the preceding days too, so here’s a special shout out to @EEPaul and @DJHReed.
Another spot of unashamed, self-promotion from me as the launch of the NBS national BIM Survey report was held at EcoBuild.
I’ve completed the survey each year, without fail and it’s nice to see a comprehensive survey carried out without a marketing aim. Also nice to see my summary of the ‘year of BIM’ (as it always is) on Page 6!
Genuine innovation was thin on the ground and as with previous years the dearth of Solar PV panel re-sellers, manufacturers and installers became annoying… stand after stand, after stand, after stand… you get the idea!
Whilst most exhibitors tend to be product-focused, the more interesting stands were the ones representing countries – particularly the Nordic regions whereby we can really see the differences in how sustainable design is approached as a way of life rather than an ‘extra’. I sincerely hope that one day everyone in teh design and construction realm thinks this way.
So adding to the above and the prominent BIM focus this year, people are beginning to realise what us BIM-folk have known for a long time:
BIM and sustainability go hand-in-hand…
Both topics have been treated in the same way in this industry and if you look at them closely the parallels become even clearer and more frequent:
- Clients see both as an extra cost
- Clients seek an ROI
- Both are mostly seen as ‘tick-box’ exercises
- The industry is always slow to adopt what is seen as ‘right’ by the ‘experts’
- The aforementioned ‘experts’ are seen as trailblazers without regard to ‘real’ project requirements
- The ‘experts’ are often proved right
- The industry misses massive opportunities
So there you have it, the comparison discussion between Sustainability and BIM is open!
The tools we now have are the best way to reduce the 30% gap between design performance and constructed performance.
We have access to the tools and the expertise, so please use them.