BIM Show Live is a seminal annual event in the construction calendar, bringing together the sharpest minds in the sector to address the world of digital construction and advanced technology.
Taking place from 28 February – 1 March in Newcastle, the intensive two-day event features a range of keynote speeches from figures at the forefront of the industry, as well as interactive sessions led by BIM and digital construction experts.
In the lead-up to the conference, Business Britain spoke to Rob Charlton, co-founder of BIM Show Live, and CEO of Space Group.
Rob shared his thoughts about this year’s event, what those in attendance can expect, and how the exhibition has developed.
Could you tell us a little bit about your career in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry?
During my architecture studies, I took a placement at the-then named architecture practice, Waring and Netts, which we now know today as Space Group!
My career in construction grew thanks to the faith and support of the partners at Waring and Netts, in which I became a partner myself, and to the vision I saw within that practice.
Sixty years on the practice has evolved into the technology-led group which I now lead as CEO, with an outstanding team of designers, developers and digital enthusiasts.
Space Group is a synthesis of design and technology, working across the UK and internationally, on large-scale projects, from implementing a digital design strategy for a leading grocery retailer to the digital coordination of prestigious mix-use residential and commercial developments in the heart of London.
Comprised of several intelligent networks including; Space Architects, BIM. Technologies, bimstore, Warboard and of course BIM Show Live.
How did BIM Show Live come about, and why did you feel there was a need for it at the time?
At first it was just myself, Adam Ward, Technology Director at Space Group and James Austin, formerly a Spacer and now a Product Manager at Autodesk.
Between us, the idea of BIM Show Live was created. We could see that there was a need to provide sound understanding and clear direction of what BIM was and what it meant to individuals and organisations. We knew this would be a huge turning point in the industry but there was no clear platform at the time for knowledge exchange and learning in the BIM environment.
Many people had been using digital construction methods for some time, but didn’t understand the principles and the impact it was having as a whole.
We launched BIM Show Live under the ethos that we would concentrate not only on the process but the people behind digital construction, their success stories and who had truly embraced the BIM benefits and what this meant to their organisations and projects.
Once you identified the need for BIM Show Live, how did you go about making your vision a reality?
Our standard line ever since the beginning of the show, is that BIM Show Live is more than just a conference, and this couldn’t be truer. BIM Show Live is all about collaboration, it provides a unique platform for those in the industry who want to learn, share, engage and expand their knowledge of the role BIM plays in construction projects. It’s not just about design or data, it provides real-project experience on how to use BIM to our advantage and apply it on a day-to-day basis. Not many industry events can claim to be so hands-on.
The reason BIM Show Live works is because we take real people, delivering real projects, achieving real results.
Has it lived up to your expectations, and if so, how?
BIM Show Live started life as a few scribbles on a beer mat, it was created from the mumblings of a few people with some crazy ideas, but look at it now. Without a doubt it has been a turning point for the industry for which James, Adam and I are very proud.
How has BIM Show Live changed since its inception to what it is today?
The principles of the show are very much the same as when we first started, we knew from the beginning that it was important to get the environment right.
People come to shows for two things: the learning and the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals. As well as knowledge sharing, we encourage debate and exchange of new ideas. What we then need to change year-on-year is the actual innovations and technologies. Our industry is evolving at an accelerated rate, and at BIM Show Live, we bring the new, the amazing and the technologies not just of today but of tomorrow.
What is the theme for this year and how is that decided? Is it something that is dictated by the current construction climate?
We continue to prioritise challenging thinking and technology. We are also passionate about sharing practical experience good and bad.
Our keynotes will focus on creativity and innovation and our seminars deliver across four content streams: data, next generation, stories and strategy.
We always strive to showcase the best use of data driven technologies from the world of digital construction, providing our visitors with an opportunity to explore and discover the practical and successful implementation of BIM which is driving our business community forward. Data is the key to successful project delivery, it drives the what, why and how.
The purpose of the next generation stream is to look ahead, what exciting tech is in our future, and indeed when will it be obtainable and, more importantly, mainstream.
One thing we have learnt over the past seven years is that stories make the most popular sessions. How all of this is put into action in the real world; where it all went right, and where it all went wrong; what did we learn, and what would we do next time. Everyone loves a good story and we aim to please.
And finally the strategic thinking behind BIM delivery, what makes a project tick.
Sharing these experiences is an essential part of the show, which allows engagement and interactivity so that our visitors gain meaningful insights and practical advice and guidance they can apply to their own projects.
What have you learned from running BIM Show Live and how have you delivered improvement each year?
We offer a place for learning, sharing and knowledge exchange, mixed with a little magic BIM-dust to ensure everyone has fun. BIM Show Live is an experience, yes it’s a learning platform, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffy and dull!
If there’s one thing we have learned it that our visitors to the show expect the unexpected and we can promise to deliver on this every time.
What is the biggest advantage of BIM Show Live to the AEC industry?
The show maintains and fosters a community of individuals who share a passion for improving outcomes in the built environment.
It encourages collaboration and ensures we continue to look forward and never rest in our laurels. We see BIM Show Live as an annual milestone event in the construction industry calendar, each year we can reflect on the last 12 months and look ahead to the next.
What are your hopes for the future of the show?
We want to maintain the original ethos to share good practice and challenge the future. We don’t want it to get bigger, just better.
We hope it will continue to make a contribution to improving the culture and outcomes from the construction industry.