It's BIM up North

Editorial Type: Event Opinion Date: 2016-01-01 Views: 3,623 Tags: CAD, BIM, Training, Construction, thinkBIM PDF Version:
Liz Schofield outlines the agenda for the thinkBIM Spring conference, to be held on the 23rd of March at the Centre for Knowledge Exchange in Leeds

Whilst some might suggest Level 2 is the norm and the world of digital construction is up and running, here in Yorkshire we know that many individuals and businesses are still looking for advice, support and guidance, regardless of where they are on their BIM journey. Hence why thinkBIM, the knowledge exchange and home to the Yorkshire and Humberside BIM Region, is bringing David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation in the Cabinet Office, back as a keynote speaker at our spring conference on 23rd March.

"I am excited to be returning to Leeds and the thinkBIM event for a day of learning, sharing and connecting with others on their digital journey," said David. "The events are key to helping raise awareness, build capacity and to help anyone on their journey towards digitisation of the lifecycle of a built asset. It is always interactive and most enjoyable (the keg of beer at the end is also worth staying the day for!). I am personally looking forward to giving an update on the BIM Task Group activities and the progress towards Level 2 and beyond."

With the event being held just 12 days before the official level 2 BIM fanfare, David will be talking about how the level 2 mandate has been achieved, what benefits have been drawn from it, and what comes next. Chaired by Stephen Hamil of the NBS and RIBA Enterprises and sponsored by Tekla and Exactal, the conference will also showcase some of the best speakers from thinkBIM's illustrious five year history, and feature companies who have truly embraced the digital construction movement along the theme of "What good BIM looks like."

Now in its fifth year, thinkBIM is the network for Building Information Modelling advocates & leaders, based at the Centre for Knowledge Exchange (CKE) at Leeds Beckett University. It was set up in 2011 as a response to the Government Construction Strategy report published in May of that year mandating the use of BIM on all centrally procured projects by 2016.

The Chairman of thinkBIM, Duncan Reed states "At that time local businesses were coming to us and asking what this signified for them, where do they start? Many we spoke to didn't even know what "BIM" stood for. So the thinkBIM network was set up to support businesses to learn about and understand BIM, from the underlying principles and how they can adopt it into their existing processes."

ThinkBIM champion the acceleration of BIM adoption and change through focused events, training and online discussion groups. Since its first ever workshop, aptly titled "BIM issues, challenges and solutions," the thinkBIM network has now hosted over 50 events throughout Yorkshire and further afield, based around an annual three series formula that focuses on different stages of the lifecycle of a built asset: Design and Preconstruction, Construction and Assembly, and Operations and In Use. Each series featuring two twilight seminars and a half-day conference and the intention is still very much to do more.

Duncan adds "ThinkBIM has grown significantly over the last few years, from running introductory events to showcasing the organisations, projects and specialisms and practitioners who are leading the BIM revolution."

ThinkBIM is proud to have received a number of award nominations and accolades over the last four years including Best Virtual or Hybrid Event Award in 2013. The team were delighted to win this award as it recognised one of the key thinkBIM strengths - the online presence of the network. As well as the seminars and conferences, the thinkBIM team are actively engaged on social media and events typically feature live tweeting, streaming and blog pieces. ThinkBIM conferences are global events with international keynote speakers linking to the events to illustrate how other parts of the world are making BIM work for them.

ThinkBIM is supported in its endeavours by a proactive group of sponsors, partners and individual ambassadors, all recognised regional and national as BIM leaders. The Steering Group draws from a wide group of professional organisations including WSP, Bond Bryan Architects, BAM and Turner Townsend. ThinkBIM also benefits from strong links with the UK BIM Task Group, the Construction Industry Council, NBS and the Constructing Excellence BIM Group.

In recent years thinkBIM has also significantly extended its offering by delivering BIM consultancy to SMEs. ThinkBIM is a nationally approved trainer on with the CITB BIM and has so far delivered Introduction to BIM workshops across the country to over 400 individuals representing approximately 120 companies with more planned for 2016.

Despite the imminent arrival of the 2016 deadline thinkBIM believe there is still a massive need to demystify BIM to a large part of the market and that they are in a great position to do just that. The network has always been about helping to solve problems and we will continue to do this with the great team at Leeds Beckett University, the passion from the Steering Group and the support of the wider network. As one of our Steering group members says, "It's BIM up North!"

Details about our spring series are here or follow our twitter @thinkBIM for updates. If you wish to attend our conference, please email us at