16 October 2018

 Update: Since this article was first written, all the content from the NBS National BIM Library has moved across to NBS Source.

At the recent Discover events there were a number of presentations from NBS customers. We take a look at their stories in respect to how they are integrating NBS into their existing workflows.

BDP | David Miller Architects | IBI Group | JDDK | Lovelock Mitchell Architects | Ryder Architecture



Michael Riley, Associate Architect

Michael presented how BDP had moved from a 2D working environment to BIM and data rich models as standard working practice. The UK Level-2 standards is how ‘BIM’ is defined at BDP and for a practice working globally the evolution of this methodology to an international ISO standard was seen as very good news.

For a practice that works on large complex projects such as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Cardiff and Value College having a standardised way to develop and manage information is vital. This standardised information is now allowing for innovations around bespoke coding to around computational design and analysis.

With respect to specification, Michael explained that NBS Create was the BDP tool of choice and demonstrated how, for the Glasgow Queen Street development, all objects and specifications had been associated to coordinate the information on hundreds of drawings and schedules generated from the model.

Michael also explained how BDP had been part of the NBS Innovation Panel contributing to the development of NBS Chorus. The benefits of NBS Chorus include it being an international tool, that is cloud based and utilising Uniclass 2015 throughout.

BDP: Coordinating two databases
BDP: Managing annotations from the specification
BDP: Model and specification in the cloud
BDP: An international, collaborative, cloud-based future


David Miller Architects

Andrew de Silva, Director and Architect

Andrew told the story of how David Miller Architects (DMA) are a technology-led practice that utilise modern methods of construction to solve complex problems around design, programme and budgets.

DMA work on projects in many sectors from education to housing to mixed-use – but regardless of project type they always follow the same digital workflow.

Andrew then presented a typical workflow using a number of real-life projects as examples including Parsons North, a development of 60 new homes for Westminster City Council. For this and all their projects, DMA create specifications early, once the system types have been agreed in the model. An NBS Create specification is generated from the model and a description of each system is added to develop an outline specification.

DMA use a combination of their own objects and NBS National BIM Library objects to build the design and in parallel they then expand the level of information in the specification. The NBS plug-in for Autodesk Revit is used to keep the model and specification synchronised throughout.

Another focus of the presentation was the refurbishment of the Lord’s Media Centre. Applying a standardised approach to a building with such complexity of shape clearly demonstrates that BIM is an enabler of and clearly not a barrier to great design.

David Miller Architects: Outline specification describing concept designs
David Miller Architects: Coordinating objects and specifications in BIM environment
David Miller Architects: Linked specification and model
David Miller Architects: Using BIM for refurbishment of complex buildings


IBI Group

Nick Ainscough, Regional Design Technology Lead

IBI Group is a truly multi-disciplinary company with 60 offices. Many of their projects are infrastructure projects helping to build cities around the world. In addition to infrastructure and building projects, IBI Group also focuses on innovation projects. By digitalizing the built environment this allows the built assets to be managed and for analysis of operations to understand the actual performance.

Nick explained the similarities between modelling assets as diverse as a building and a motorway. Both assets can be modelled as related objects. Both are constructed from spaces, elements, systems and products.

This method of thinking allows the specification to be understood to be more than simply a tender document. By developing a specification through the project timeline it can mature from a dataset that models design intent through to a digital manual that is a record of the building.

IBI Group is part of the NBS Chorus Innovation Panel and Nick explained his ambition that by positioning office knowledge against specification items it is possible to develop a learning tool that will allow rich digital models to be built that power the Smart Cities of the future.

IBI: A focus on data structures
IBI: Extending from specification to knowledge management
IBI: From BIM to Smart Cities



Matthew Holmes, Associate Director

JDDK Architects are a medium sized practice in Newcastle upon Tyne. Matthew Holmes presented how they have standardised their project workflow so that efficiencies are achieved. Matthew first talked about working with colleagues to ensure that the BS1192:2007 workflows were understood and followed. He then followed this by looking at various aspects of the BIM Level-2 processes such as the use of common data environments and collaborating with others early in the project to document employer’s information requirements and BIM execution plans.

With respect to model and specification development, Matthew focused in on the development of the external wall element of the recently built Sill Landscape Discover Centre. At an early stage the wall was modelled as a single object, with estimated dimensions and the specification only considered the type of stone cladding that had to be agreed by client and planners. As the project developed, the layers in the wall element were then fully designed and each of these layers were associated with the equivalent products in the NBS Create specification.

Matthew finished the presentation by looking at the NBS Old Post Office project. He focused on the use of manufacturer BIM objects from NBS National BIM Library to complete the design and more easily generate the COBie handover dataset.

JDDK: Outline spec and concept design for planning
JDDK: Specification and model development
JDDK: Fully coordinated model and specification


Lovelock Mitchell Architects

Peter Fisk, Associate and Architect

Peter from Lovelock Mitchell Architects explained how they use BIM to improve clarity, better coordinate their designs, be more responsive and to reduce issues on site.

The RIBA Plan of Work was used to clearly demonstrate what services an architectural practice can offer clients from developing strategy through to handover. A particular focus was given to stages 2 through to 5.

The development of detail and information was illustrated using an external wall. When the design was at concept stage, generic objects were used to represent the major elements. However, these generic objects were then replaced by the specific systems and their associated products. Lovelock Mitchell build up the model to generate a one-to-one map of information structures to the NBS Create specification. So for a wall element, this is split into a number of systems such as a cladding system, a structural system and an internal lining system. Within each of these systems, the individual products such as blocks, bricks and plasterboard are then linked to ensure design coordination.

The recent work Lovelock Mitchel have undertaken for Manchester City Council was show cased. Peter demonstrated how the 3D model was at the heart of the linked information structures and how in project meetings the team would often immerse themselves in the model to help understand the design.

Lovelock Mitchell Architects: Using generic BIM objects for concept design
Lovelock Mitchell Architects: From concept design to technical design
Lovelock Mitchell Architects: Allowing the client to view the design from within the model


Ryder Architecture

Glenn Tate, Associate

Ryder Architecture is a Newcastle upon Tyne based practice that now has offices and partnerships around the world. Glenn explained how he has worked with colleagues to ensure that efficiencies can be gained across a large practice through standardisation of content and processes.

Glenn started by presenting his personal journey as one of those at Ryder who was on the first trial of early modelling tools in 2006 to investigate whether the practice would start to move colleagues from 2D to modelling on all projects. Over the decade that followed Ryder has built up a global reputation as being a leader in digital and BIM. This expertise is now strengthened through their joint venture with Northumbria University to form BIM Academy.

With respect to BIM standards, Glenn explained how Ryder used the NBS National BIM Library free resources to supplement its own work. In particular, the NBS Object Standard and shared parameter files were highlighted as being of particular use.

With respect to specification, Ryder is another organisation that has been working with NBS to develop the NBS Chorus platform. Glenn presented how colleagues in Vancouver in Canada and Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK were collaboratively specifying and modelling to design student housing for the University of British Columbia.

Ryder Architecture: Aligning a practice approach to BIM to the NBS BIM Object Standard
Ryder Architecture: Winning projects overseas in Canada
Ryder Architecture: Writing specifications to Canadian standards using NBS
Ryder Architecture: Annotating models with Canadian specification references