13 April 2022

In this presentation Alistair tells BDP’s digital transformation journey starting prior to 2011 when the phrase ‘BIM’ was first being discussed. Alistair breaks the journey into phases:

  • Pre-2011 – What is BIM?
  • 2011-2014 – Investigations, simple progression and building consensus
  • 2014-2017 – Consistency and capacity
  • 2017 – Growth and standardization

In addition to defining a digital process and embedding it across all BDP studios across the UK, Alistair also presents the BDP ‘technology stack’. The NBS approach to specification writing is a key part of this technology picture as is the Uniclass classification system that underpins the information structures across the technology stack. Figure 1 shows an illustration of this.

Figure 1 - The BDP technology stack

BDP have been an NBS customer now for many years and they have embedded their expertise alongside the NBS specification libraries to form their bespoke master specifications and associated guidance. Figure 2 below shows these master specifications within NBS Chorus – it can be seen that this approach is taken for all design disciplines across the functions of building design.

Figure 2 – A set of master specifications for each discipline

The story so far - NBS conference presentation

This presentation is a fascinating insight into a large multi-disciplinary practice’s digital transformation of that has taken place over a number of years. This full presentation can be watched below.

A conversation with Stephen and Alistair

Following the presentation, NBS Innovation Director Dr Stephen Hamil took the opportunity to chat with Alistair. Topics such as bringing designs and specifications together, utilising cloud technologies and BIM, ten years on from the Government ‘mandate’ are discussed. Watch this video below:

“NBS moving to the cloud had removed barriers and opens up flexibility… To have an architect or an engineer modelling and developing a spec hand in glove at the same time on the same screen - it ensures that the specification is considered from the earliest stage. It ensures that our architects and engineers relate the way we design to the way we specify and the important of the specification to the design decisions that are being made.”
- Alistair Kell, Chief Information Officer at BDP

Following the presentation Alistair provided screenshots from NBS Chorus, integrated into the design process, for the various building design disciplines. These can be seen below.

Figure 3 – NBS Chorus ‘plugging in’ to the modelling process for architecture design
Figure 4 – NBS Chorus ‘plugging in’ to the modelling process for building services design
Figure 5 – NBS Chorus ‘plugging in’ to the modelling process for structural engineering design

More information