Digital Node and NBS form international partnership to strengthen BIM delivery in Australia
A new international strategic partnership has formed between Digital Node and NBS, two leaders in the field of digital construction, who are both taking to the stage at BIM Show Live 2019.
This new partnership supports the expansion of the NBS Australian operation which provides technical guidance, specification and BIM support throughout the country.
With offices in the UK and Australia, Digital Node is perfectly positioned in understanding both markets and brings a wealth of knowledge to the partnership which it will share with NBS.
Digital Node Founder and Director, Rebecca De Cicco and NBS Head of Partnerships, Sascia Elliott both speak about what this partnership means for the construction industry in Australia and how the introduction of NBS’s first cloud based specification platform, NBS Chorus, will support the further adoption, understanding and development of BIM on a national scale.
Sascia, NBS is known globally for its expertise in digital construction, technical guidance and ingenuity, tell us why Australia and why now to expand your internal operations.
We announced in January 2017 that we’d set up a subsidiary of NBS in Australia, coupled with the acquisition of Digicon in Canada, a well-established Canadian publication and consulting company which provides specification data in Canada and North America.
Our international expansion has been driven by our customers who are looking for a single provider to support their work in international markets. At NBS we can meet this need through our connected digital tools designed to aid collaboration and underpinned by quality structured data in standardized formats. We are already working in partnership with Transport for New South Wales who have adopted the Uniclass 2015 classification system and the NBS BIM Object Standard is fast becoming accepted in international territories.
Why now? The Australian market has been proactive in its efforts to improve BIM awareness and there is an exciting drive and momentum in Australia very similar to that which we have experienced in the UK. NBS and Digital Node want to simplify the transition process for Australia because when you can get passed the initial disruption phase, a whole new collaborative data rich world is suddenly available.
Rebecca, as a native Australian and a specialist in BIM, what does this new partnership bring to the Australian construction industry.
This partnership enables Digital Node to support a globally recognized brand such as NBS and promote their presence in Australia. Our objective is to assist in the introduction of digital technologies to the Australian market, in the
sameway as NBS has done in the UK.
NBS has always been at the forefront of technological developments and are adept at identifying opportunity where they can enter into other markets to disseminate their expertise. There is nothing like this in Australia currently and therefore promoting and joining forces with NBS was a logical solution for us as a business.
We see great opportunities not only for growth in this market when it comes to BIM but in education around how NBS has become a global exemplar group in the BIM space. Their updates and BIM solutions allow industry to digitize regardless of whether there is a BIM mandate or not, it’s simply about using a process to support both time and cost savings.
Rebecca, we know you specialise in global BIM delivery, briefly tell us the level of adoption and use of BIM in Australia for building and infrastructure projects.
There has been a strong push for BIM in the last 12 months but prior to that it has been a very disjointed and adhoc view of how both local government, state government and private entities are adopting BIM. Although a series of reports and industry driven research has suggested in Australia we should be pushing a federal initiative. Having said this there has been a big push within state government in the way of Digital Engineering and this is being primarily pushed directly out of NSW and Victoria. We do know that Transport NSW for example has been integrating NBS’ classification system, Uniclass 2015, as a way to classify their infrastructure projects as well as the UK standards templates and processes to drive innovation. This is becoming common across other Australian Government departments and we’ll see this evolve into the use of ISO 19650 upon its release.
Having said all this, the market in Australia is still relatively premature when it comes to BIM across the buildings sector and therefore it is a prime time to be promoting NBS and their products in this space.
Sascia, how can NBS support an increased national level of BIM usage?
NBS products are individually effective but together powerfully connected. As more people become aware of NBS more people start to experience firsthand the benefits of working with our BIM tools. We are also working in partnership with public and private sector Australian organizations; and we are keen to talk to more.
The key to NBS products is to provide a platform where architects, engineers, surveyors and other construction professionals can share accurate information collaboratively and come together in this BIM environment. You only need to read the Hackitt report, which reflects the dangers of not having information about a building, to understand how important it is to have this ‘golden thread’ of information running through everything we do.
Sascia, in the UK and other international markets, NBS supports specifiers and designers for BIM implementation, is it your objective to work along side these same actors within the industry for the Australian market?
Our aim is to aid collaboration throughout the whole life cycle of a building; which as you can imagine involves so many different construction industry professionals. This is also the challenge with BIM.
Architects, specifiers, designers and manufacturers have certainly led the way in adopting BIM in the UK and it will be interesting to see how things evolve in Australia. NBS and Digital Node hope to be able to bring together professionals to form a vibrant and collaborative BIM community.
Rebecca, as a qualified Construction Manager (FCIOB), what benefits can you see developing for site led or construction management processes, particularly in Australia.
We are seeing a large uptake of BIM across the construction sector with many major building companies beginning to integrate BIM as part of their workflow. This is coming from the middle up as there is generally no real mandate or required need from a client in the way of BIM so we see BIM related processes (and technologies) generally used by major contractors to implement cost and time savings. The way in which BIM objects are used however is generally adhoc and until the NBS National BIM Library launch in Australia, there was no national library, nor did we have any reliable resources to draw upon when it came to BIM generally.
Having said this the profession of Construction Management must evolve and there should be some type of integration of BIM related curriculum in Construction Management undergraduate degrees. There is little of this happening in Australia and we need to be pushing this across education to see real change in the coming years.
We have an issue here that graduates across most disciplines are not being expelled from universities with the right skills to be able to run or manage a BIM project and this is something which needs to be addressed now.
What stage are you at now in the delivery of this new strategic alliance between Digital Node and NBS?
We have launched the NBS National BIM Library in Australia and NBS Chorus – our cloud based specification platform which includes an Australian content library.
The new partnership with Digital Node allows us to extend our reach and draw from its market knowledge on what the digital built environment in Australia needs.
I am very excited to say we’ve already started working to grow a new database of contacts and begin to support a growing initiative when it comes to BIM in Australia for NBS. The work leading up to the end of the year for Digital Node is to utilize our contacts and events to begin to communicate the NBS message across Australia in order to ensure there is a strong association with NBS and Digital Node and solidify the relationship we’ve established over the last few years.